Understanding the difference: application service provider (MASP) and a connection/messaging aggregator

What is the difference between a mobile application service provider (MASP) and a connection/messaging aggregator and what are the benefits/drawbacks of partnering with one or the other?

There is a HUGE difference between the two.  A mobile application service provider provides all the application logic to support your mobile marketing program(s) and the interaction between you and the mobile subscriber via any number of different mobile paths, including SMS, MMS, Email, IVR, mobile Internet, Bluetooth, voice, etc. While a connection aggregator manages the message flow (SMS, MMS) between a wireless carrier and an application provider; in other words, they act as the conduit between the two parties.

Some connection aggregators will try to provide some application logic, but their primary business is providing connectivity with the carrier.   While mobile application service providers specialize in providing application logic and can connect to any number of different messaging aggregators and will offer you a host of software and professional services to support your efforts to use the mobile channel for marketing purposes.

If you’re going to build your own applications then you may consider working directly with a connection aggregator.  But even in this case you’ll want to think twice before contracting with a connection aggregator. First, think about what you’re building.  In order to bind to a connection aggregator’s network you’ll need a robust gateway, be able to support various network protocols, build a keyword and short code management utility and ensure you’re compliant with a host of carrier regulations and requirements.  Moreover, you’ll need to maintain your software as requirements change.  Building your own solutions can be costly and expensive in the short-term and definitely in the long-term.

You want to keep in mind that many application providers, like iLoop Mobile, can abstract the complexity of connecting to the messaging aggregator and can act as a micro-aggregator for you, not just with one connection aggregator but with many.   Therefore, even if you’re building your own application logic you can focus on doing that really well rather than building a gateway that the application provider already has and can license you access to.  Also, application providers will provide you a host of other functionality to support your efforts to interact with mobile subscribers.  So, before you build anything yourself, see what they have first and build on top of their offerings or simply use what they already have. 

The Mobile Marketing Ecosystem. Presented by iLoop Mobile. Part 1
The Mobile Marketing Ecosystem. Presented by iLoop Mobile. Part 2