They must provide innovation in products and services, enabled by advances in IT and technology, and do so while maintaining compliance with an increasing burden of privacy and security regulations.

As if that’s not enough to keep on top of, there’s more. Advances in technology have brought more threats to the industry, and one of the biggest threats facing the industry today is an increasing loss of revenue due to fraudulent activities in their networks. So, just how big is the problem?

Well, according to the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA), it’s an expensive one, representing nearly $30 billion globally last year. And for some carriers, this threat is growing by 10% a year.

In the digital communications ecosystem, operators are already struggling with extreme competition and growth, heavily reliant on data services for everything from voice and messaging to video chat and streaming.

The challenges are eroding traditional voice and SMS messaging revenue. With more than two-thirds of detected carrier fraud coming from international traffic, telecom operators are facing the potential of further losses as mobility, globalization, and roaming continue their global upward trend.

What is clear today, is that traditional thinking on how to combat fraud is simply not working. Operators need to think and act radically different if they are to, not just keep up, but try and stay one step ahead of the innovative criminals and organizations that are intent on doing them grave financial harm.

If operators can embrace automation, radical thinking, share bad actor knowledge, and consider new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, they can reap the rewards of better carrier fraud control and bolster their bottom line. The cost of building these next-generation “learning” machines has arrived and is far more palatable than the alternative, which is doing nothing.

So, there you have it, one of the biggest issues facing the industry today provides telecom with an ultimatum.