For every entity (and associated store and forward machine) a message touched in its path to delivery is regarded as a hop. The count starts when an enterprise submits a message to a network and stops when the message reaches the final terminating operator SMSC. An example of a single hop: Acme Inc. sends a message to an AT&T subscriber via the Sinch network, then Sinch sends the message to AT&T for on-net delivery. An example of a multi hop: Acme Inc. needs to send a message to an AT&T subscriber, but has to use an intermediary service, like SMSAGG Inc. SMSAGG sends the message to Sinch for delivery, which would be two hops. If Sinch uses its own SMSC for delivery, then this would be a zero-hop connection. In general, the less hops the better, as each hop takes time and can potentially have latency and security vulnerabilities.