Feeds

Mobile fee dodgers will get away with enough cash to bail out Greece

US code paranoia lets cash trickle through cracks

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Mobile customers are dodging fees running to hundreds of billions of dollars by a combination of accident and design – both facilitated by badly designed billing systems which aren't up to the task. However, US paranoia plays its part too.

The numbers come from Juniper Research and estimate that by 2016 operators will have under-billed punters by almost $300bn globally, enough to pay off half the Greek debt. The operators most at risk are those running networks in Africa and the Middle East, where call records don't always make it back to the billing systems and SIM cloning remains rampant thanks to the US ITAR restrictions.

ITAR, International Traffic in Arms Regulations, is a US regulation which prevents the export of "strong" cryptography to countries America doesn't trust. The GSM standard defines various levels of encryption to authenticate calls, but the US won't allow ITAR-restricted countries to use encryption, so their authentication systems are trivial to break and SIM-cloning is rife.

But Juniper's report doesn't blame the Americans, instead it reckons the end-to-end visibility of billable activities is the solution. Real-time analysis and trend spotting – or "proactive business intelligence" as Juniper would have it – is what African and Middle Eastern operators need.

Operator billing systems are hideous beasts, involving generations of hardware and software lashed together with little more than cable ties and a few lines of Perl. Over the last 10 years or so, the European and American operators have been slowly replacing those tangled monsters with proper billing platforms, with the occasional hiccup, but in many countries that evolution is still in progress.

If one argues that cheap telecommunications stimulates a developing economy – a view the General Secretary of the ITU espouses – then a little fraud is probably worth tolerating, but when it starts to approach even half what the Greeks owe, then something should probably be done. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.