By Sempico Solutions

SMS length: how not to lose parts?

If you ever sent SMS on an old phone, you noticed how a counter worked somewhere in the corner. And you probably knew that this is a counter for the number of characters in your SMS. Yes, it’s symbols, not letters. And then it might not be clear to us why we are limited and we must write briefly. On modern phones, this counter is no longer displayed and we can forget about some kind of restriction. But the mechanism has not changed and we still need to adhere to a certain number of characters in SMS. We, as SMS sales people, need to know the character count process and know how to send long SMS, even if they are divided into several parts. Let’s determine how many characters can be in one SMS, what characters are included there and how to collect and send all parts of SMS to a client on mobile phones.

SMS length – how many characters?

The length of SMS has its limitations, they primarily depend on the SMS text, namely on the symbols used.
There is a certain set of these characters, which is recognized as a STANDARD (this encoding is called GSM7 or Latin1 (ISO-8859-1)). If the SMS contains only these characters, then it is considered “English”. Such messages are divided according to the following principle:

  • 1 part – 160 characters;
  • Part 2 and all subsequent ones – 153 characters each (yes, 7 bytes are taken to store the gluing data, that is, information on how parts can be glued into one long SMS in the phone). The following table shows the set of characters that “English” SMS can consist of.
0x00 |0x10 |0x20 |0x30 |0x40 |0x50 |0x60 |0x70 |
0x00 |0x10 |0x20 |0x30 |0x40 |0x50 |0x60 |0x70 |

If there is at least one character in the text that is not in the above table (it may even be an invisible character), then such SMS is no longer “English”. Now it is defined as Unicode (this encoding is called UCS2 (ISO / IEC-10646)) and is divided according to a different principle:

  • 1 part – 70 characters;
  • Part 2 and all subsequent ones – 67 characters each (yes, 3 bytes are taken to store the gluing data, that is, information on how parts can be glued into one long SMS in the phone).

It is important to understand that the limits for “English” and Unicode SMS are STANDARD and no good friend or super software will allow you to bypass them. Everyone works according to this standard, mobile phones too, so the number of characters is always displayed when dialing or receiving SMS.

It is worth noting that invisible characters are also considered as separate ones. Such invisible characters can be a space, a new line, and so on. You need to be especially vigilant about them, because with mass mailing, taking into account such characters can significantly reduce the cost of sending.

Also, some mobile operators have small nuances – characters such as $, € and £ can be considered Unicode.

IMPORTANT! Each part of one SMS is charged as a separate SMS, that is, a full fee is charged for each part. Therefore, you should be especially careful and ALWAYS do tests before mailing.

Risks of increasing the number of SMS parts.

From the above, one could understand that SMS is divided into parts, but the number of these parts does not matter at all. This is not true. An increase in the number of SMS parts leads to one big risk – blocking one of the parts. In addition, modern phones are configured in such a way that they will only display SMS if ALL parts come to the phone. Therefore, you and your customers should write concisely and clearly for the subscriber, if possible, write briefly. After all, this will not only save your traffic costs, but also guarantee full delivery.

How does the GATUM platform deal with SMS parts?

From our experience: GATUM skipped SMS consisting of 50 parts and it was no problem, we can guarantee that all parts are sent to the supplier. But we cannot guarantee that the supplier will deliver all parts to the user’s phone.

In addition, a few months ago, we implemented a mechanism on the platform that collects all parts of SMS and sends them together. This means that only when all parts of one SMS are received on the platform, it will go to the queue to be sent to the supplier. Otherwise, if some part is missing, the received parts will wait a day for the missing part. This is done in order to minimize conflicts associated with the fact that parts of SMS are lost during sending and in order to deliver the full content to end customers.

Summing up, it can be noted that writing SMS is not such an easy task, but it is facilitated by the standards that are set for the whole world. And with the GATUM platform, you can be calm, because all the parts will be assembled and sent together.

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