Your super handy dandy SMS glossary
Whether you are a seasoned veteran or someone new to the field, welcome! Starting an SMS campaign is simple, but there are many moving parts involved in making it run smoothly. Here is a list of key terms you should know:
Peer-to-peer (P2P) - Peer-to-Peer or P2P messaging simply refers to sending messages from one phone to another. An SMS can be sent to any other phone in the world using a series of carrier agreements called Interconnects.
Mobile Network Operator (MNO) - In the SMS world, carriers are often referred to as an MNO (Mobile Network Operator), Telco, or Mobile Network Provider (MNPs).
Mobile Originated (MO) - Refers to messages sent from a mobile phone and received by an SMSC.
Mobile Terminated (MT) - Refers to messages delivered from an SMSC to a mobile phone.
Sender ID - This is the name or number that a message comes from.
SMS Gateway - An SMS gateway is a type of SMSC that moves messages from one place to another. The gateway moves messages into a client application so they can then be handled as required.
Short Message Peer-to-Peer (SMPP) - The SMPP protocol is an open, industry-standard protocol designed to provide a flexible data communication interface for transfer of short message data between a Message Centre and an SMS application system.
Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) - An SMSC is an element of a GSM network that’s responsible for processing SMS messages— it stores the message and extracts the destination from it and then tries to deliver it. An SMSC is the primary connection point between a carrier, aggregator, or company that needs to send or receive text messages.
2 Factor Authentication (2FA) - 2FA is the term given to the process of receiving authentication for an online service. With SMS, a code is sent to a mobile phone. This is commonly used for banking transaction authentications or website user registrations.
Application to Peer Messaging (A2P) - Application to Peer or A2P messaging refers to services that use a computer or server connected to the internet to talk to carriers that enable messages to be sent to mobile phones using computer programs or web applications. This type of messaging is commonly used for reminders, marketing and authentication type services.
Delivery Receipts (DLR) - DLRs are processed by SMSCs to notify the status of an SMS like delivery and failure. Different carriers use many different delivery receipts. It is widely accepted that the DLR structures used in the SMPP protocol should be used, however, in reality, this is rarely true. So when setting up a carrier or aggregator in your SMS gateway, careful attention must be paid to the DLR codes you are receiving so you can show correct reports to your users. Different carriers and aggregators can use different time stamps. Generally, they should be in UTC however sometimes they may be in local time, depending on who you are connecting to.
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) - This is the international standard for digital cellular communications. Currently, GSM networks operate on the 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 1900MHz frequency bands. Devices that support all four bands are called quad-band, with those that support 2 or 3bands called dual-band and tri-band, respectively. In the United States, Cingular operates on the 850 and 1900MHz bands, while T-Mobile operates only on the 1900MHz band. The GSM network has many evolutions such as CDMA, 3G and 4G however in the SMS business world it is generally referred to as the GSM network.
Custom Variables - Custom variables allow you to pull information from a pre-existing database to help personalise a message. Examples of a custom variables include [FirstName] or [Company].
UTF-8 (Unicode Transformational Format) - You can send standard text and special Unicode characters inside a message. Unicode compatibility may include emojis, special characters, or 70+ different languages.
Opt-out reply STOP - All sales or marketing-related messages should have an opt-out. It’s also encouraged that all messages outside of 2-way conversations should also include an opt-out. The global standard is written as Opt-out reply STOP, as the keyword STOP is known as a universal way of opting out of an SMS campaign.
UTM Parameters (Urchin Tracking Module) - These are tags that you add to a URL, which allow you to track your links better. You can send up to five values through a UTM to your analytics platform.
Concatenation - When you send an SMS longer than 160 characters, it can be split up to four times depending on how long your message is. Long messages are split after every 160, 306, 459, and 612 characters. You will also be billed for multiple messages once this concatenation process triggers.
Industry Abbreviation Cheat Sheet
This is a list of the most common abbreviations for the messaging industry:
- 2FA = 2 Factor Authentication
- ACMA = Australian Communications and Media Authority
- A2P = Application to Peer
- API = Application Programming Interface
- CC = Country Code
- CDMA = Code Division Multiple Access
- DLR = Delivery Receipt
- FTEU = Free to End User
- GSM = Global System for Mobile Communications
- HLR = Home Location Register
- MMS = Multimedia Messaging Service
- MNO = Mobile Network Operator
- MNP = Mobile Network Portability
- MO = Mobile Originated
- MSISDN = Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number
- MT = Mobile Terminated
- MVNO = Mobile Virtual Network Operator
- NDC = National Destination Code
- P2P = Peer to Peer
- RCS = Rich Communication Services
- UDH = User Data Header
- URL = Uniform Resource Locator
- USSD = Unstructured Supplementary Services Data
- UTC = Coordinated Universal Time
- UTF = Unicode Transformation Format
- SLA = Service Level Agreement
- SMPP = Short Message Peer to Peer
- SMS = Short Message Service
- SMSC = Short Message Service Centre
- SIM = Subscriber Identity Module
- SN = Subscriber Number
- SPAM = Unsolicited Communication
- SS7 = Signalling System 7
- TDMA = Time Division Multiple Access
- VMN = Virtual Mobile Number