Anam signs contract in Iraq to protect mobile users from ‘spam attack’

Irish company’s deal with Iraqi operator Asiacell could boost job numbers in Dublin

A pedestrian uses a Samsung Electronics Co. mobile phone to send an SMS text message in Kigali, Rwanda, on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. Coffee-producing Rwanda’s economy has doubled in size in the nine years through 2010, according to the World Bank. Photographer: Will Boase/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pedestrian uses a Samsung Electronics Co. mobile phone to send an SMS text message in Kigali, Rwanda, on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. Coffee-producing Rwanda’s economy has doubled in size in the nine years through 2010, according to the World Bank. Photographer: Will Boase/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 08:00

Despite the growth in popularity of messaging services such as WhatsApp and Viber, there is still money to be made from SMS. That’s the message from Irish firm Anam Technologies, which has just landed a lucrative contract in Iraq.

The deal with Asiacell will see the Irish firm, which specialises in mobile messaging software solutions for mobile operators, provide the mobile network with its SMS Firewall service ANTISpam.

This will help the network detect and block spam messages, cutting down on the number of nuisance text messages reaching its customers.

Although exact figures haven’t been disclosed, Anam chief executive Louise O’Sullivan said the deal was worth “significantly more” than half a million euro to the firm. “Our technology gives operators a window essentially to see where spam is coming in,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

With operators struggling to keep revenues flowing from the messaging technology, attention is turning to how mobile firms can offer customers a better service. Spam messages can not only lead to further lost revenue for the firms, but can also do considerable damage to an operator’s reputation.

“We’re quite focused on the SMS side of things, which is probably counter to a lot of other companies in our area, but we’ve made a point of focusing on its as a niche area,” says Ms O’Sullivan.

“The market shifted over the last five years towards the latest greatest technologies and what’s happened over the last 18 months is that a shift from the operator’s point of view has come back to their traditional revenue sources, of which SMS is one.”

Spam messages are an increasing problem for many mobile networks and their customers around the world, and can be costly to consumers as the messages form anonymous or faked senders often ask customers to reply to expensive, premium rate numbers.

Asiacell’s CEO Amer Sunna said the company was wprking to upgrade its system to defend against “increasingly complex and evolving SMS spam attacks”.

Anam’s firewall technology uses a filtering engine to detect fake or spoof content and prevents it from reaching a customer’s phone.

The “Bye Bye” service included as part of the package also allows individual customers to block calls and messages from unwanted numbers.

The Iraq market may not be the first that springs to mind when companies think of potential business opportunities, but Ms O’Sullivan says that it has been a good move for Anam, and foresees further opportunity in the area, leading to growth within the company.

However, getting started in the market can be difficult, with Ms O’Sullivan acknowledging that the company faced a lot of challenges in the market. Building relationships and trust with potential customers was key to closing the deal, she said.

“When you are working in a region like Iraq, you need to understand the importance of the relationship that you build,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

Key to this deal was signing up a good local partner; Anam signed up Iraqcom Technologies, to deliver the solution and provide Asiacell with a full suite of support services.

Anam has already begun rolling out the service on the network, with full implementation just a couple of weeks away from being completed.

The firewall service can be remotely monitored, raising expectations that such deals will lead to further job opportunities at the Dublin-based firm in the coming months. The firm, which also has an office in Malaysia, carries out all its R&D in Dublin.