Johannesburg, 05 Dec 2023
According to a recent study conducted by Juniper Research, data roaming fraud is becoming an increasing concern for telcos around the world. Their insights suggest that global data roaming fraud will cost telcos around $8 billion (~R152 billion) per year by 2028. It already accounts for around 80% of global operator roaming-based losses, which are spurred on by bilateral roaming agreements for data-intensive uses over 5G networks. 2G and 3G networks are being phased out across the globe as LTE, 4G and 5G networks provide higher levels of bandwidth and virtualisation at lower costs. This is also true for roaming services. However, the highly virtualised nature of 5G networks presents more opportunities for criminals to defraud telcos.
4C Group is a leading provider of IT services in Africa, including business assurance software. Over two decades, we have built up an innovative team of professionals and amassed extensive industry-specific knowledge, allowing us to evolve in close alignment with the unique needs of African telcos and enterprises. With an experienced business assurance partner, telcos can focus on their digital transformation goals while preventing losses through revenue leakages and incidents of fraud. 4C Group can support African telcos with business assurance solutions that offer greater control through real-time, end-to-end monitoring that reduce revenue leakage and incidents of fraud.
What is data roaming fraud?
When a criminal uses a smartphone to access data services on a network other than their home network (called a roaming network), without the intention of paying for those services, they can defraud telcos. In essence, it occurs when criminals bypass security protocols to make use of a roaming network. Data roaming fraud can be committed with lost or stolen SIM cards or by exploiting vulnerabilities in roaming agreements. For example, they could use a roaming-enabled SIM card to make phone calls to premium-rate numbers in high-cost countries. This type of fraud can be very costly as roaming charges are significantly higher than domestic charges. What’s worse is if an individual’s SIM card is cloned and used in data roaming fraud, they could bear the costs of the illegal calls and data used by criminals. However, telcos often carry the costs of roaming fraud when they find out what has happened. This is why telcos need to invest in anti-money laundering (AML) technologies.
5G roaming and advanced fraud mitigation
As 5G networks continue to roll out across South Africa and the rest of the world, roaming agreements need to be updated and revised. The greater volume of data that 5G connections generate necessitates the development of advanced solutions to detect and minimise fraudulent activities. One example is the growth in 5G subscription fraud, where criminals create new subscriptions with false information. These subs then incur roaming charges without the intention to pay. Until the subscription is cancelled, criminals may be able to anonymously use 5G roaming data and telcos will bear this cost. Telcos need to ensure that they have strict security protocols and subscription processes in place to mitigate these risks. FICA certainly helps to reduce the incidents of false information being provided, but data roaming fraud is still a growing concern. Telcos should invest in 5G-specific signalling detection and software that offers real-time monitoring to detect fraudulent activity and subscription anomalies.
4C Group provides several business assurance services to telcos, including fraud management and AML software built around our iNSight framework. With these customisable options, telcos can identify any fraudulent activity occurring on their networks using multiple in-stream fraud alarms to continuously monitor usage and trigger alerts based on specific conditions or patterns. When possible fraud scenarios are detected, all relevant data is summarised and stored. Fraud cases are automatically generated for further investigations. Alerts can also be used to create custom watchlists or be used in conjunction with existing watchlists. The findings of the investigations are put into reports that can be used to inform required actions. If you’d like to find out more about these offerings, please contact us today.
At 4C Group of Companies, we strive to effect operational changes and cost savings for customers through our iNSight product and associated services. This product’s main function is to re-purpose and deliver business-critical information to a variety of systems and stakeholders. We specialise in information management, business assurance, fintech solutions and a variety of cyber security services. For more insights into our products and services, check out our blog page or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.