For a bunch of societal obligations usually prevalent in this time of the year in India, I had not been able to make it to writing, reading, analysis and self-research.The fun part is, I resumed only to feel literally bombarded by news of telecom fraud. This post is dedicated to three news items that I found, almost at one shot:
1. Hacker makes mobile phone snooping affordable: A $1500 device that allows one to intercept mobile phones and snoop into privacy. Chris Paget apparently seems to have been flaunting his creation in Las Vegas, drawing much of public attention.
I am not sure of there is a direct method of detecting such intrusions. This is a direct attack on the CPE. If anyone knows how to prevent such frauds from happening and what a telco can do for the same, please let me know.
The following two cases plagued India very recently:
2. MTNL Mumbai officials held for SIM sale scam: This is a simple case of dealer fraud with lack of implementation of internal regulations. Not that this is anything unique or new, such cases of scheme implementation without proper methods of activation of SIMs happen almost at random. Yet somehow the operators still fail to prioritize the issue and actions are taken only after fraud in the order of millions has happened.
3. Vodafone reports Rs.3.32 crore fraud in Punjab: Again not a new fraud type. Misappropriation of assets (recharge coupons, SIM cards, etc) especially in pre-paid telecom markets is not unknown. The good part is, Vodafone identified and has been able to charge the culprits.
The two fraud cases above, show the dire need of pro-active solutions, that tries to alarm the operators in situations of fraud. Internal fraud is one of the biggest challenges in large operations and especially in countries like India which is predominantly a pre-paid market. Fraud systems would lay only a small part in the entire operation. Dedicated teams that work to prevent fraud from happening have a very important role to play. In India, the monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) for the month of March 10, as reported to TRAI stands roughly at $2.6 (Rs.131). In such situations, fraud cases cause heavy blows to the operator and the costs of operations. Add on to this the advent of newer technologies WiMAX, LTE, and the capex and opex required for the same.
It would be interesting to see the appetite for risk of the operators playing in the Indian market and how they prioritize activities of risk management.