The Menace of Flash Calls (and How to Stop Them)

Authenticating users to ensure genuineness is a top priority for modern businesses, especially app-based B2C brands. The better they can cater to actual customers, the greater will be their ROI for marketing and service quality initiatives. Traditionally, such businesses relied on SMS-based OTP services to enable this authentication. Today, however, there is a new entrant in the market that is quickly becoming a darling of app-based businesses but a real threat to the revenue streams of telecom companies.

We are talking about flash calls – the missed call-based user authentication service that leverages an MNO’s network to place a call to the device where the business app is installed. Upon receipt of the call, the app terminates the call without answering while authenticating the user in the background. It is estimated that businesses worldwide will be making over 128 billion flash calls yearly by 2026.

When SMSs were used for multi-factor authentication of apps, users had to open the message and enter the OTP, or the app would auto-fetch the OTP from the device. Either way, it resulted in a billable use of the telecom’s network. With flash calls, however, there is not even a need to answer the call, resulting in zero billable transactions on the telecom network.

This has been a huge boon to businesses, especially growing B2C brands that have to constantly authenticate users for safety and other credible reasons. But telcos haven’t been happy about flash calls.

Why Are Flash Calls a Menace for Network Operators?

Despite becoming a darling of businesses, telcos are having a hard time adjusting to the growth of flash calls. Let us explore 3 reasons why telcos consider flash calls a menace:

Loss of Revenue

The ultimate buzz-kill for flash calls is that they do not bring in any revenue for a traditional telecom operator. End users do not answer the authentication calls, and in most cases, they rarely feel the incoming call as the app handles the call quickly in the background. Without actual call connections being realised, there is no way for telecom operators to monetise such calls. While the earlier practice of text message-based OTP systems allowed them to charge businesses for each SMS. This shift to flash calls leads to a significant loss of revenue.

Scams and Spams

As with any new initiative, there are imposters who hop onto the flash call bandwagon to try and dupe people into scams and illegitimate business transactions, thereby making them suffer monetary losses. In most cases, telecom operators have no control over these calls, and there are several flash call service providers who offer cheap and inexpensive facilities that can be used for committing fraud on end-users.
Due to the practice of call-based authentications happening across all popular consumer apps, users will be less suspicious about handling incoming calls from unknown numbers in anticipation of an authentication process. This becomes a key vulnerability for fraudsters to exploit in different ways.

Congestion on Networks

Unlike an SMS-based authentication system, flash calls result in the usage of a significant bandwidth of the carrier’s network spectrum depending on the volume of calls placed. While one or two app businesses using them may not be a big deal, imagine the situation in the future, as explained above, when billions of calls happen over traditional phone networks.

This will result in severe network bandwidth congestion, forcing end-users to experience delayed services, poor network quality, and other significant network hurdles. This can lead to really unpleasant customer experiences. It can further hurt the business prospects of telecom providers if they aren’t able to scale their infrastructure to accommodate the extra space needed for large volumes of flash calls. And they must do all this without even an opportunity to monetise these calls.

How Can Telecom Operators Transform Flash Calls from a Menace into an Opportunity?

Yes, you heard it right! Despite its popularity for being a dampener on revenue, flash calls can become a potential new revenue stream for telecom operators if they can implement the right technology to manage them.

Today, there are AI-enabled flash call management systems that enable telecom providers to seamlessly identify flash call traffic within their network and put controls in place. The AI and machine learning capabilities of such solutions can help in understanding the patterns of potential flash calls and intercept them in the network before they manage to land on an end-user device.

By gating flash calls, telecom operators can demand a fee from businesses to enable the further transfer of the flash call to an end-user device for authentication. This allows them to build a completely new revenue stream that was previously thought to be impossible. Besides, such solutions can also help block spammy and suspicious flash calls and protect users against newer and emerging threats.

As you can see, leveraging the right technology can help transform flash calls from an enemy into a telecom operator’s best friend. But it requires the use of the right solutions from trusted vendors. This is where Globe Tele Services comes into the picture.

Get in touch with us to know more about how our AI-powered flash call management platform is the ideal solution for your telecom business to embrace flash calls without risk.


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