Comprehensive glossary of mobile industry terminology
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An Over the Air (OTA) SMS is an SMS message that is frequently used by mobile operators to provision or modify core network settings on a handset. These messages are used to optimize configuration settings e.g. SMS Service Center, web settings, or to provision new services such as MMS.
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Over the Top (OTT) messages are messages that flow through the data network of a mobile operator as opposed to the core network. OTT suggests something that flows ‘over the top’ of the core network. For example, a P2P SMS message travels through the core signalling infrastructure of a mobile operator, where a WhatsApp message will flow through the data connection of a mobile operator (just like any other data). In this context a WhatsApp message is regarded as an OTT message.
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