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World Telecom Labs boosting SMS revenue in Africa with Easy Hub

World Telecom Labs has launched Easy SMS Hub, enabling operators to increase revenues from text messages by setting up their own SMS hubs.

Creating a hub provides operators with a straightforward and cost-effective system to bring SMS routing in-house.  It enables them to either set up direct routes to operators and MNOs around the world or to establish direct links for their most trafficked routes and continue to outsource access to and from less busy networks.

Typically SMS traffic generated in Africa is routed out of Africa to an overseas hub and then back again to Africa or onwards to another continent. The SMS hub will take a fee of a fraction of a cent per text it routes but with margins currently so tight, this eats into the African operator’s revenues.

WTL’s first Easy SMS Hub customer is ICN, one of the interconnect exchange carriers established to increase competition and transparency in the Nigerian telecom marketplace. All mobile operators in Nigeria including ‘the big four’ are now required to divert 10% of their inter-carrier voice and SMS traffic to one of these operators.

ICN will be the first carrier in Nigeria to own and operate its own SMS hub. Initially it will build a hub to connect text messages passing between the networks of Nigeria’s four mobile operators, while in the longer term it will be offering interconnect partnerships with overseas operators whose customers text Nigeria.

Uche Onwudiwe, Chief Operating Officer of ICN, said “WTL’s Easy SMS Hub is ideal for us and will enable us to increase revenues and retain control of SMS traffic within Nigeria.  We will be looking to extend our SMS hub service to overseas companies in the near future.”

ICN is also one of five Nigerian interconnect exchange carriers which are using WTL’s specialist high capacity voice switching equipment to transfer traffic between Nigeria’s four mobile networks.  WTL’s voice switches have been specifically designed to replace the huge, expensive, maintenance-heavy switches which have traditionally been used to transfer high volume voice traffic between networks.  

Leigh Smith, MD of WTL, said “The advantages of bringing SMS routing in-house are clear:  increased revenues and reduced costs. ICN know from experience that we deliver what we promise – in this case, a reliable system to establish, manage and maintain an SMS Hub”.