Communication knows no bounds: However, if you’re planning an international SMS campaign, you should pay attention to a few key details and know what you need to pay particular attention to in each country.
Worldwide there are different habits, regulations and options – this also applies to the sending and receiving of SMS. Would you like to target customers, business partners or external employees abroad? Then you should take the following information into account, which we have put together for you by the example of some countries.
SMS within Germany
In Germany, you can use both alphanumeric (11 characters) and numeric sender IDs as usual. However, Shortcodes such as 12345 as sender are often not delivered correctly and dthe success of your SMS campaign could suffer significantly. It may surprise you, but this “freedom of choice” isn’t common in every country. The same applies to the registration of the sender: In many countries a sender advance notification is required – but not in Germany.
Prefer German-language messages, they are considered more trustworthy. English SMS or faulty translations are often simply ignored by the recipient.
A personalized salutation also strengthens customer loyalty and gives more confidence to the German, who is always focused on safety. He can now assume that the sender of the message means and knows him personally. With a professional gateway, you can optimally personalize even bulk SMS and send them safely, quickly and reliably.
Since April 2016, social invitations have been blocked by network operator T-Mobile.
SMS to France
All forms of sender IDs are supported in France only under strict conditions. Which of these forms you choose depends on your project.
- numeric IDs: only long, virtual numbers are allowed to avoid identity fraud. Otherwise, numerical senders will be automatically replaced by shortcodes (exception is the network operator LycaMobile, which replaces these with local numbers)
- alphanumeric IDs: depending on the network operator, these are only delivered from Monday till Saturday between 8 am and 8 pm local time. Special characters are not allowed and will either be replaced by an escape sequence or the message will be rejected altogether. Unicode is supported for alphanumeric senders, but not always reliable. If the message contains network names, it will be rejected in principle. The network NRJ overwrites alpha values with a shortcode. Long virtual numbers can successfully bypass these filters.
Also, for Two-Way-Messaging, note that outgoing messages from French long virtual numbers are throttled down by 1 SMS every 2 seconds.
Marketing content must additionally contain “STOP au 36179” at the end of the text message, so that they are not filtered. This implemented opt-out function should give the recipient the possibility to unsubscribe of your contact list at any time. The opt-out is mandatory. Likewise, marketing campaigns aren’t sent on Sundays and public holidays between 8.30 pm and 8 am local time.
If you send an international SMS to France, it’s still essential to translate it into French. The reason: French people don’t like getting messages in English or any other language at all.
SMS to China
In this huge and fast-growing market for mobile messaging, it is not easy to place SMS campaigns due to numerous filters. Cheap routes are sometimes simply rejected, sender IDs filtered and content censored.
- international IDs are replaced by numeric sender.
- The character set length for Unicode is a maximum of 65 characters, for GSM 130 characters. Chains of multiple SMS are supported, but the character set is shortened accordingly.
- Content that falls under the protection of minors or which are politically or religiously ambitious are blocked. To this end, the Chinese government specifies special keywords for filtering. Gambling, education, real estate, migration, finance, healthcare, alcohol and advertising are also prohibited topics.
- Arabic characters are not supported in any of the Chinese networks.
- Binary coding, WAP push messages and concatenated SMS are not supported, or only partially supported, depending on the routing.
- Duplicate messages can not be sent to the same recipient within one day, allowed is a maximum of 10 SMS with different content per day per recipient.
However, a professional SMS Gateway allows you to use better connections, provided they are registered. This is recommended especially for transaction content and volumes with over 1 million text messages per month.
SMS to Indian
India is a very complex market for international SMS campaigns and has a number of diverse restrictions.
- alphanumeric sender IDs: The pre-registration is mandatory. In addition, the ID must be 6 characters long and transmit at least 25,000 text messages per month. For registration, it’s recommended that you contact a professional provider who offers an appropriate HTTP API.
- Also typically for India is the preposition of two letters to identify sender and gateway: an ID with e.g. “VD-SMS” is therefore transmitted by the network Vodafone and in the region Dehli. “AP-SMS” stands for the network Airtel and the region Punjabi, etc.
- Nevertheeless, a big part of international senders is overwritten to ensure delivery.
- Unregistered IDs will be replaced by a local shortcode.
In addition to the network filters in India is still a NDNC registration, in which all recipients can register. Messages from unregistered IDs to numbers noted in this Do-Not-Call list are automatically blocked. You can check recipient numbers in advance in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India registry.
Furthermore, official time slots are set for Marketing SMS. Delivery is allowed between 9 am and 9 pm. After that, the messages will end up in a queue until the next day, but will still be charged in full.
Also spam filters are active and block all messages that are sent more than 6 times to the same number within one hour. On the other hand, recipients can rarely receive more than 200 SMS per day via incoming streams.
For political reasons, messages to the Jammu and Kashmir networks are currently blocked by the government in principle.
SMS to Russia
Cheap connections for mobile messaging to Russia are heavily filtered. Even legitimate A2P messages often don’t arrive. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to use a provider with direct HTTP API connection and adaptive routing. For this, several routes are constantly being tested and in the event of problems, an alternative connection can be uses at short notice, so that all text messages arrive as quickly and reliably as usual.
Since 2013, Russian carriers are filtering numeric shortcodes as well as unregistered sender IDs. To bypass such filters, the IDs are overwritten.
Alphanumeric IDs can be pre-registered if the volume is more than 1 million SMS per month.
Also in terms of content, numerous restrictions apply in Russian networks. Among other social invitations and topics such as gambling are prohibited. SMS containing a URL are usually classified as spam and consequently blocked.
SMS to South Africa
A country that is increasingly joining the SMS boom and still has a lot of customer potential is South Africa. Here, however, international sender IDs are usually overwritten with a random, national long code to ensure delivery. Dynamic sender IDs are not possible. Thus marketing campaigns can sometimes be quite difficult to place.
Central Distributor is an independent organization called WASPA, to which all MNOs pass on their regulatory duties.
Parallel, South Africa has an explicit code of conduct on content and message types. Therein is e.g. defined, that on weekends and public holidays only between 9 am and 1 pm and on all other days only between 8 am and 8 pm direct marketing may take place. Unless the recipient expressly agrees with other agreements.
Content restrictions concern topics that fall under the protection of minors as well as political and religious ones. Terms like “price” and “profit” should also be avoided. In addition, abuse, spam and phishing are prohibited.
Dedicated phone numbers and so-called shared numbers are generally allowed in South Africa. Unicode, concatenation of messages and DLR are reliably supported.
SMS to Brazil
Brazil has always been quite complicated in terms of SMS campaigns. The reason: The local mobile service providers block international SMS or simply don’t support them. No routing seems to be working properly, let alone being stable. Providers with direct connections and additional adaptive backups still achieve the best possible quality.
Sender IDs are changed to a fixed shortcode or local number to bypass most of the filters.
In terms of content, it looks similarly limited: Marketing, politics and religion are among the inadmissible topics. Unicode and binary forms should be better avoided, because they’re not supported.
Please also note that landline connections are constantly being converted to mobile numbers because of the limitations of the mobile numbering plan. The porting information is updated only once a month, which can cause delays if this information becomes current.
SMS to the USA and Canada
For the USA and Canada, there are very specific SMS restrictions, so a direct connection is needed to ensure transmission to each of the many networks.
Sender IDs must be either a US pre-approved long number or a short code. Alphanumeric IDs are not supported. This should be decided depending on the context of your SMS campaign:
- For P2P, it’s best to choose long virtual numbers. These can be obtained on request from your provider. Binary formats are not supported, Unicode mostly, but not reliable in all networks. Also euro signs and some accents are problematic. In addition, you can send a maximum of 1 SMS per second and per virtual number to the US or Canada. This is determined by the local carriers. Those who send faster will be rejected. If you still need higher throughput, you can use multiple registered senders and split your traffic accordingly. Virtual numbers are limited to approximately 500 messages per day and will be blocked if exceeded. Furhtermore, the operators expect bidirectional traffic. SMS with repetitive URLs and keywords are also blocked by the filters.
- For A2P and bulk SMS its’ recommended to use shortcodes, although the network operators T-Mobile and Sprint filter heavily here. Alternatively, you can send toll-free numbers to the United States via the direct HTTP API. However, US codes can not be used for Canada. Instead, Unicode and binary formats are better supported. Also, there are no limits on maximum throughput for shortcodes and toll free numbers.
Social invitations also seem to be quite difficult, but not officially prohibited. Not so financing offers: these are expressly not allowed for shortcode senders.
SMS to Australia and New Zealand
Australia is an extremely complex SMS market. Numerous filters are pushing the cheap SS7 networks ever further away. A stable and direct API is therefore essential for the successful delivery of SMS. For sender IDs, content and encoding, there are no special restrictions.
In New Zealand, on the other hand, international sender IDs are sometimes replaced by long, virtual numbers to ensure delivery. For purely transactional applications with more than 25,000 SMS per year, it’s advisable to register such a number in advance. Otherwise, IDs are also replaced by local shortcodes. For content is only to note that social invitations are not allowed in New Zealand.
Summary: Our clues for international SMS campaigns
However, these are only a few country-specific tips. Aditionally, you should always check your SMS marketing for current requirements and obligations on the part of the recipient country, so that your international communication does not call misunderstandings, but only satisfied customers.