International A2P SMS: worth the hassle?

International A2P SMS: worth the hassle?

Sending SMS messages across the globe and between countries. Read on.

I ran headfirst into a brick wall this year (2023) in trying to send SMS messages that originate from the UK to anywhere a client is likely to be and I also tried to acquire a US mobile number from Twilio. TL;DR, don't make my mistake and just use an SMS provider with shared infrastructure and request approval for sending globally on shared numbers. What really grinds my gears is you are free to use Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp and other messaging apps, without the hassle. I can't figure out if it's government control gone mad, and/or poor processes.

Why SMS?

It's such a lovely medium. That's why. Humans are more likely to not only acknowledge and read an SMS message, but action it. The technology is old, it's reliable and on every mobile device since the 90s, it doesn't need a data connection (runs on mobile signalling, not packet data) and it also lacks the HTML window dressing we see on emails and other forms of communications. Ready for a shocker? 98% of SMS messages are read, versus approximately 20% of emails that make it through the spam filters. If you're wondering why SMS messaging is still around, that's one of the main reasons.

What to do

If you're in the UK and want a really friendly company to provide an SMS infrastructure with keywords on a short-code, dedicated numbers and great customer service, be sure to check out SMSWorks.

If you want to message globally and do so without having to lease country specific numbers, you might want to checkout https://messagebird.com/. They offer this service and provide API SDKs for popular languages. What's not to like.

Other platforms

Things like this drive me mad, so if you come across a good shared SMS infrastructure provider, please let me know and I'll list them on this post for others to find.

LIKE THIS?

BUILT.FM STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

By signing up for the Built.fm mailing list you will receive exclusive content, know-how and stories about people building new software products and services

Great! Please check your inbox and click the confirmation link.
Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.

Written by

David Gee

David Gee

UK
I build communication systems like computer & application networks and write software! Then I blog and podcast about it.