CXTech Week 9 2024 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 9 2024 newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech this week. What is CXTech?  The C stands for Connectivity, Communications, Collaboration, Conversation, Customer; X for Experience because that’s what matters; and Tech because the focus is enablers.

You can sign up here to receive the CXTech News and Analysis by email or by my Substack. Please forward this on if you think someone should join the list. And please let me know any CXTech news I should include.

This week we kick of with some major news, the carrier who discussed election interference with the TCR is found out to be T-Mobile. The DCA whose employee blocked election campaign messages is found to be Sinch. And Tata Communications has sat on a dossier detailing far more than is covered in the Complaint since July 2023.

Covered this week:

  • Podcast 38: Truth in Telecoms, Huzzah for the Czar
  • Only 3 weeks to TADHack Open!
  • Podcast 37: TADSummit Innovators, Florent Stroppa, CPO Nodle
  • Dean Bubley on the OpenGateway and Camara
  • The Worst CPaaS Report Ever!
  • We need more honesty like Uku Tomikas, the CEO of Messente Communications
  • Feb 2024 RTC Security Newsletter
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Podcast 38: Truth in Telecoms, Huzzah for the Czar

Since I reposted Eric Troutman’s excellent review of The Campaign Registry’s response to Frederick (“Rick”) Joyce’s FCC filing on Thursday, where I linked the work we’ve been doing on the US messaging ecosystem. The repost reached 2.5k impressions overnight, my profile has been viewed over 100 times in 24 hours, and several people have reached out to commend the work as essential steps in exposing the truth to finally stop the SMS spam and robocalling in the US.

Late Thursday night I received two documents anonymously. They appear to be the cover letter (redacted) and an email from one of the exhibits. I’ve confirmed with Johnny the documents are genuine. It’s part of a vast dossier sent to Tata Communications. Most redactions seem to cover specific personal information, names, or potentially sensitive information. The documents appear to be either public information or information related to illegal activity which can’t be protected by NDA.

Here’s the Cover Letter and CFIUS Submission, which confirms what Johnny has told me and on our podcasts. This is a complex story, the Messaging Monopolies Simplified is a good place to start to understand all the acronyms and different companies like DCA (Direct Carrier Aggregator), CSP (Campaign Service Providers), carriers, etc.

The cover letter goes beyond what was covered in the Complaint filed against Kaleyra in September 2023. Remember the complaint is sworn testimony from Bill, if any of it proves false, that’s perjury and Bill faces up to 5 years in prison plus additional fines and probation.

There’s several points I’d like to make from reading the documents: 

1) T-Mobile is the carrier

Quoting from the complaint:

Mr. Peters was also made aware of discussions between a major carrier of wireless communications in the U.S. and Campaign Registry executives on their weekly calls indicating a plan to influence elections by ensuring that certain organizations did not have the same access to messaging. In particular, during one recorded call, Stefan Heller was discussing election influence with a representative of that carrier who specifically stated that they needed to restrict the “Project Veritas’ of the world.”

complaint Case 1:23-cv-01051-UNA Document 1 Filed 09/26/23

T-Mobile must conduct an investigation on the alleged election interference discussion between T-Mobile and TCR as a matter of utmost urgency.  In reference to the cease and desist Tata sent as a New Year’s present, we never had the recordings. We know of their existence, I recommend T-Mobile discuss with TCR the location of those recordings.

2) Tata Communications has sat on this information since July 2023

Tata Communications has sat on this information since July 2023. I have advised Tata multiple times that they must urgently investigate what is going on at TCR. They potentially bought a fraudulent company, knowing it was fraudulent. I know that sounds odd.

3) Sinch is the DCA

I’ve pointed out several times there are many issues with the current TCR solution. For example, a DCA (Direct Carrier Access), a text messaging provider having direct connections/agreements with operator(s), can link a specific campaign to a number, and with that information raise complaints of spam for that number, and close down a campaign potentially without the campaign owner’s knowledge.

Here’s a real world example of that happening that was covered up by TCR management, quoting from the complaint.

“In September 2022, Campaign Registry operations personnel discovered election interference aimed at certain Republican campaigns and in particular, the Kari Lake campaign for Arizona Governor.  In September of 2022, someone using the handle “Forum83” and the email address was able to ultimately convince the companies delivering political messaging to Arizona to stop all Republican messaging for the state for a couple weeks in September of 2022.   Forum83 claimed it was all spam and played on the lack of knowledge of support desk personnel.  The company that shut down the messaging was based in Chicago, but the support desk person who shut off the messages for Arizona was a foreigner based in Australia.   Forum83 also interfered with Republican campaigns in parts of California during October 2022.  Mr. Peters learned all of this (and received the emails) from Ricardo Cavero (TCR Head of Operations).  Mr. Cavero ended up dealing with Forum83 directly on a phone call, and that is how Mr. Peters discovered Forum83’s identity.”

“When Mr. Peters and others learned what was happening, Mr. Peters asked Mr. Cavero to report what he had learned  to Campaign Registry management, specifically to Soren Schafft (TCR CEO), Tor Soevik (TCR COO), Stefan Heller (TCR VP Business Development) and Michael Ford (TCR VP Operations).  They told Mr. Cavero to let it go and not do anything.”

“Mr. Peters reported this to the FBI through his attorney in September 2022 and by direct interview in Washington, DC on October 20, 2022.”

complaint Case 1:23-cv-01051-UNA Document 1 Filed 09/26/23

I was told by Johnny that the election interference came from a Sinch VP for North America. Sinch has been made aware.

Podcast Video

Below is Podcast 38: Truth in Telecoms, Huzzah for the Czar. Its a solid review of what has happened to Bill Peters over the past years, and includes the additional information learned last night.

Tata Communications you are paying Littler to intimidate us. Johnny discovered a strange man talking to his 5 year old daughter while that man was delivering documents from Littler. At 8PM on a Saturday evening my family was subject to commanding rapping at the front door while watching the movie Nimona. I did not know Bill while he was employed at TCR, including me in the arbitration between Bill and TCR is yet more evidence of intimidation.

To both T-Mobile and Tata Communications, you need to investigate TCR as a matter of urgency. Sinch, you need to investigate the election interference committed by an employee, and close that hole in your processes. The overriding objective of Truth in Telecoms is to stop SMS spam and robocalling in the US.

Only 3 weeks to TADHack Open!

TADHack Open

With only 3 weeks until TADHack Open, this always sets off a feeling a panic in me: the banner hasn’t arrived (that got resolved while I was writing this post, see below), we need more hackers, what have I forgotten this year.

A BIG thank you for STROLID and SignalWire for sponsoring TADHack Open.

The two most important thing are:

  • The sponsor’s resources are ready. You can low code your hack, just editing a JSON file. Remember to sign up to their resources and start playing with their tools now.
  • If you’ve not yet signed up please do so. This is so I know the numbers and can keep you updated on everything TADHack. For the Enterprise Connect attendees and Cloud Communications Alliance members, there’s really no need to be scared, low code is easy, please sign-up.

We have quite a few remote hackers, which we love as it creates an impressive diversity of hacks.

Here is the link for advice on submitting your hack remotely. If you have any questions please ask.

Good luck, we hope you have fun.

Podcast 37: TADSummit Innovators, Florent Stroppa, CPO Nodle

I’ve known Florent Stroppa since his time at Voxmobili. I was running a project working with mobile app developers to better serve them in the emerging mobile app dev communities. That’s nearly 2 decades ago!

We first met in person at eComm (emerging Communications) in 2009, that’s also where I met Karel Bourgois. Karel came up in our conversation as we discussed Florent’s current project, Nodle, decentralized computing using blockchain, aka swarm computing.

We do run long on this video, but it’s important history, that has a bearing on where the industry is going. We covered the beginning of mobile app development, with SMS, native, and WAP gaming. How telcos controlled the WAP portal and carrier billing, so would charge a 70% fee, and higher depending on the app’s placement on their WAP portal lists.

Because we were overtime, too much time spent reminiscing, we skipped over the time when Florent was part of the team at Vodafone that kicked off RCS. We come back to RCS at the end where Florent shared his view that RCS role is principally A2P, not P2P, here’s the YouTube Short on that.

The mobile OS duopoly is then questioned on whether the trend in ambient / swarm computing will open the door to a new ‘OS’ battle. We have many devices that are opening up a new phase in computing. For example ipods, watches, VisionPro, Samsung rings, and many other wearables. And this leads to Florent’s current project, Nodle, decentralized computing using blockchain, aka swarm computing.

How all these devices and the vast computing power contained in such ‘peripheral’ devices can be harnessed. Peripheral is the wrong term. The Apple vision pro uses an M2 system on a chip, 15.8 trillion operations per second. Nodle is a connectivity provider for the Internet of Things. The company has built a Bluetooth Low Energy – powered network to help companies and cities connect and collect data from their devices, sensors, and tags.

Whether its an OS, or an AI agent, or something in-between as the default for ambient computing. This linked back to Karel’s vision of using voicemail to create a communications assistant. Which broadens into a general assistant because of its pervasiveness across your devices / peripherals and your data.

Florent is on an exciting journey. We’re going to hear much more about ambient computing. Beyond high end devices, rather harnessing the vast compute power from all our devices. Perhaps Nodle will become the ambient OS, or Voxist will become the default assistant, or perhaps its a hybrid across OS and application? Its funny how we all met at eComm 15 years ago. 

Dean Bubley on the OpenGateway and Camara

Dean plays this down the middle (even handed). Unusually, it’s one of those areas where Dean doesn’t have an especially strong opinions on viability, although he make three broad statements:

  • What’s happened so far is “necessary but not sufficient”
  • It’s essentially nothing to do with #5G monetisation
  • There’s some truly bizarre forecasts for telco APIs

I recommend you scan through the 68+ comments, it gives you an excellent view of the range of opinions. I’d just mention that many of the pro-voices lack experience in this space, or are a vendor that makes money from selling the platform. As Dean says in the comments, dissenting voices are critical given the vast telecom echo-chamber.

There also is a broader context to this discussion, A2P SMS is in decline, voice has been in decline for almost a decade. Check out this post from Uku Tomikas, the CEO of Messente Communications, and is becoming more fragmented, using IP based solutions rather than PSTN messaging. Plus there are many other issues like AIT (Artificially Inflated Traffic).

The Worst CPaaS Report Ever!

Dean put me onto this report, it really is the worst CPaaS Analyst report ever, even more awful than the Quadrant for Data Analytics, Automation & Architecture landscape.

I’ll ignore the $1.1T market size, that’s the game, crazy big market size and people buy the report. What is really bad are the target companies, its like they warmed-over a 2014 Telecom API report.

Some of the errors:
1) Tropo was bought by Cisco in 2015 and closed it down in 2017 – that made me sad. Tropo has not been in the business for 7 years.
2) Xura changed its name to Mavenir in 2017, and Mavenir bought Telestax in 2021, and started to let the team go (amazing technology team) through 2022 into 2023. I know as I was helping them with intros for new jobs.
3) Apigee (now Google) – see this post from 2012 And what’s shocking is even today telcos are still discovering Apigee is API management not CPaaS, 12 years later!
4) Voxeo was acquired by Aspect Software in 2013. At that time Voxeo Labs was spun out as Tropo. Aspect has never sold CPaaS AFAIK.
5) Alcatel Lucent was bought in 2016 by Nokia.
6) Fortumo is part of Boku, bought 2020, which is mobile payments, well really payments in my opinion. Sort of its own industry these days.

Here the Quadrant landscape for your entertainment as well:

If you need to know something about the Telecom API market or programmable telecoms / communications, just ask me. I know stuff and people, I’m independent, and I know where quite a few of the bodies are buried, or at the very least know someone who was there when the body was buried.

We need more honesty like Uku Tomikas, the CEO of Messente Communications

Read Uku’s post and the comments. Like Robert Vis from Bird, we need more leaders willing to speak the truth.

Feb 2024 RTC Security Newsletter

Recommend you subscribe to this newsletter, its excellent.

Covered this month:

  • Generative AI on live audio conversations (sorry!)
  • Vulnerabilities affecting Yealink, WebRTC and OpenScape
  • Hardening WhatsApp’s VoIP library and new mobile malware using CPaaS
  • WebRTC related security content courtesy of Staex, Mozilla and Fonoster
  • FCC rules affecting VoIP providers and telcos

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Ted Franz is now VP Sales & Partnerships at Master Of Code Global.

Aashu Virmani has joined Cambridge Consultants as the Senior Vice President of Business Development. We met while he was at Comverse / Xura.

You can sign up here to receive the CXTech News and Analysis by email or by my Substack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *