CTIA Messaging Guidelines: Building the Community

On Inauguration Day in 2017, CTIA published Messaging Principles and Best Practices, a set of voluntary recommendations developed with wireless messaging ecosystem stakeholders to support a wireless messaging community where:

  • Wireless consumers can exchange wanted messages with other wireless consumers;
  • Enterprises and consumers can exchange wanted messages; and
  • Consumers are protected from unwanted messages.

The CTIA document is an ambitious but imperfect attempt to reconcile sharply different views among the various stakeholders. What had begun as an industry effort to define best practices had in recent years become increasingly burdened with regulatory conflict, resulting in a “least common denominator” document that seeks to split the various babies that fueled the conflict.

I led CTIA’s efforts to bring the disparate stakeholders together, establishing the industry’s first inclusive forum dedicated to identifying and removing impediments to the expansion of messaging into other arenas such as toll-free, landline and cloud.

Wireless Hall of Fame: Expanding Beyond Voice

Established in 2000, the Wireless Hall of Fame honors the pioneers whose collective vision fueled the wireless revolution that is still evolving. In 2008, on the 25th anniversary of the launch of the first commercial cellular network, the Wireless History Foundation was established and assumed responsibility for the Wireless Hall of Fame. The annual Wireless Hall of Fame Awards Dinner attracts a Who’s Who of wireless industry leaders who honor the extraordinary accomplishments of their peers.

The 2017 program in September recognized for the first time achievements in wireless data, inducting Friedhelm “Fred” Hillebrand for his pioneering work to have SMS incorporated into the GSM standard as a non-optional supported feature for handsets and devices.

Charitable Texting Campaigns: Text for Good

I guided the CTIA Foundation’s successful pivot into messaging programs. In 2005, CTIA’s Wireless Foundation needed to adopt a new model for using wireless technology for social good. Previous programs had partnered handset manufacturers and wireless carriers to provide cell phones to communities in need such as domestic violence shelters, classroom teachers and neighborhood watch groups. The novelty of these programs had worn off, and carriers were burdened with administrative overhead to support these non-revenue accounts.

The CTIA Foundation pioneered several text messaging programs, most notably Wireless AMBER Alerts launched in 2005 and Text4Baby, launched in 2009. In that period, the CTIA Foundation also launched text-to-give programs such as TEXT2HELP, a proof-of-concept program with the American Red Cross first deployed during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.