SMS messages

In our last post, we discussed text messaging compliance for country-specific legal regulations. This post expands on that and focuses on carrier regulations for SMS Messages.

Text messages are not like emails, which are sent easily across the internet. You must follow the text messaging regulations for the recipient’s carrier to assure your messages are actually delivered by that carrier.

Carriers around the globe have different rules for text messaging on their networks. If you don’t follow these rules, there are a number of potential consequences.

  • Carriers will not deliver your messages
  • You will be charged for the attempted message sends.
  • Carriers will also block your business from sending any more messages due to certain text messaging violations.

Following are some key things you need to take into consideration.

Type of number, or Sender ID

You use a phone number as a Sender ID to send your messages. It’s the FROM number or alpha-characters you see as sending the message. Carriers offer different types of numbers for different types of text messaging.

Each type of number has a set of rules around how it can be used, based on the type of route these messages take across a network. Some routes are designed for P2P (interactive) traffic, some for A2P (automated) traffic, and some for both. Numbers also have different costs associated with them.

If you violate the rules around a certain number type, carriers will stop delivery, charge you for the messages and potentially block you from sending any more messages.

Volume and velocity of SMS messages

The volume of messages refers to the total number of messages being sent from a specific number. The velocity refers to how fast these messages are sent, as well as the ratio of inbound to outbound messages.

Automated campaigns and bulk sends generally include larger volumes of messages, and require a Sender ID that uses a route designed for volume sends, as well as a high velocity with a low ratio of inbound to outbound traffic. Interactive conversations, such as with a sales or service rep, tend to be lower volume and velocity with a more balanced ratio between inbound and outbound. Such traffic can use a different type of number for sending messages.

If your messaging sends violate the policies your carrier associates with your numbers, your traffic will be stopped, you will be charged and you may be blocked from sending any more messages.

Type of messaging content

Carriers use spam filtering on text messaging routes. These filters watch for typical spam type behaviors within the message content. For example, if you send the same repetitive content in a series of messages, you may be blocked for spam. Similarly, if you use shortened urls in messages you will most likely be blocked. Your SMS messaging provider should have the expertise and product capabilities for you to avoid any type of spam filters. Be sure to work with them to optimize your message sends.

Structure of messaging content

SMS Messages have specific structure requirements for effective delivery. For example, an English message cannot be more than 160 characters. If it is, the carrier can break it up into multiple messages, send those disjointed messages in an incorrect order and charge you for multiple messages. Your vendor should provide SMS templates that are structurally correct. They should also help you understand the key policies for English and Unicode messages, as well as techniques for sending large messages in an orderly fashion.

The Bottom Line

Carrier regulations for SMS messaging add an additional layer of compliance that your business needs to take into account when defining your messaging strategies and infrastructure.

Be sure you do the following when designing your SMS messaging programs:

  • Choose the right numbers, or codes, for specific types of messaging.
  • Select a vendor that can manage your message sends to meet your carriers volume and velocity policies.
  • Use the proven SMS templates your vendor offers to be sure you understand the optimum content structure for your messages.
  • Follow best practices messaging and use common sense. In short, don’t be a spammer!

This post introduces a few key aspects of carrier regulation for SMS messaging. We’ve also created a detailed guide to How Messaging Works that offers deep insights into SMS text messaging  across the globe. It’s yours for free, just click below!

SMS messages

If you have more questions, we’d be happy to answer them. We’d also be happy to demo our automated compliance solution that assures your text messaging campaigns and conversations meet regulatory requirements. To set up a demo, click here.

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