By Jordi Castellvi, Director of Product Management, Clearing Services
Premium Rate Numbers can be both a benefit and a curse for mobile network operators. In the domestic market, revenue share with premium rate number operators can provide a very profitable business, but the use of premium rate numbers can also create massive potential for fraud. Even if premium rate numbers are being accessed quite legitimately by subscribers in a roaming environment, this may still create revenue and profit distortions, and can even lead to a commercial loss on some roaming destinations.
A recent case of premium rate number fraud, affecting a UK mobile operator, provides clear evidence of the sort of revenue losses that can be incurred. In this particular case, a criminal gang used false identification information to contract with the operator for around 1,000 handsets. The handsets were diverted from the contracted addresses and used by the gang to call various premium rate numbers. The criminals collected the revenue share from the operator and divided the cash. Over a period of 8 months, this particular gang generated bills of more than £4 million, which of course were never paid.
MACH is able to provide reporting on premium rate numbers that lets the home network operator (HPMN) identify premium rate usage, set appropriate retail pricing to these numbers, track margins and even block premium rate numbers, if required. MACH provides online access to reports in the local currency of the HPMN. Using this information, the HPMN can identify the premium rate numbers, block them or update their rating tables accordingly, as required. Calls to premium numbers can also be monitored, even when the subscriber is not roaming
MACH’s reporting solution not only identifies premium rate numbers, but also reports on the pricing, thus providing accurate information about the financial impact associated with the use of these numbers. Using this reporting capability, it is possible to identify and block these numbers, and ensure full visibility across both the clearing and fraud protection environment.
Existing initiatives in the market focus on listing premium numbers. MACH’s solution goes further, providing accurate pricing information to help MNOs in their decision support activity, to secure revenue and also take positive action to ensure that premium rate numbers do not negatively impact on the profitability of their business.