SMS Glossary

To help out those interested in starting a text marketing campaign for their business and to ease understanding of the mobile sector, we have compiled here a list of the most used terms in the mobile business sector.

Short Message Service (SMS) is the most widely used form of communication on mobile devices today. It is the method of sending text messages and has become widely known as the main form of mobile marketing.

Bulk SMS
Bulk SMS is sending a text message to multiple recipients at once. When you send a text message or broadcast message to your opt-in list, you are engaging in bulk SMS messaging. All text message marketing companies are in the bulk SMS business by default.

Application Provider
is an application provider.  We developed an application that allows end users to send text messages for marketing purposes.

Carriers are cell phone companies also known as wireless carriers.

These are your customers that subscriber or opt-in to receive text message communication from the business. Also known as end users.

A keyword is the name or even number in some cases that your end user will type to our short code to opt-in to your list. You can have multiple keywords for each account and some of our clients use multiple keywords for each campaign to track opt-ins from different sources.

End users must opt-in, or give permission, before you can send them any form of text communication from an application provider. Users can opt-in by texting the keyword to our short code or use a web form which will generate a confirmation message the user must respond Y or N to be full subscribed.

Short Code
A short code is a 5 or 6 digit number used by application providers to allow end users to subscribe and receive text messages. Each company will have a different short code and multiple clients will use the same short code for their campaigns.

Long Code
A long code is a ten digit number, think telephone number with area code. At this time there are fewer restrictions on text marketing with long codes and the start up process is less stringent for application providers.

A2P messaging
Application-2-Person (A2P) is the process of sending text messages to a mobile subscriber from an application as opposed to sending a text message from a phone.

Alphanumeric sender ID
The usage of a combination of numeric and alpha characters (0-9, a-z, A-Z, _) as the sender of the text message. It can be customized to reflect a brand for example. Receiving a text message from a Brand name as opposed to a long unrecognizable number is a more professional and efficient way to reach customers. However, the recipient of the text message cannot reply to a message sent with alphanumeric sender ID.

Binary messages
Binary messages are messages that require special encoding to overcome the character limitation of the SMS. Binary messages are used for characters in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Slavic languages (e.g., Russian), as well as for sending ringtones, photos, or in WAP Push messaging.

Concatenated messages
Concatenated messages are messages that require special encoding to overcome the character limitation of the SMS. in practice you can send text message which exceed the character limit f a normal SMS, so long messages are split into smaller messages by the sender and then recombined at the receiving end so the receiver may receive the long text message in separate parts. However, each message is billed separately, as it is technically more than one message sent through the networks .

Delivery Reports (DLR)
DLR is a feature of SMS MT that enables delivery reporting for every text message sent. It is sourced directly from the handset.

Fixed sender ID
Usually a predetermined numeric sender ID in a standard MSISDN format, which cannot be customized or changed.

Flash SMS or Flash notification
The flash message service enables you to send a message that will appear on the recipient’s mobile screen. This means that your recipient does not need go to the mobile phone inbox to read the message. This type of messages is very useful for prompt notifications.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a communications protocol for information transfer on the intranet and the World Wide Web.

An International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) is a unique number associated with all GSM and UMTS network mobile phone users. It is stored in the SIM card and is sent by the phone to the network.

A mobile network operator (MNO) is a telephone company that provides services for mobile phone subscribers.

MO (mobile originated)
A mobile message routed from an end user’s mobile device and delivered to a mobile phone or an application.

Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) enables mobile phone users to keep their existing mobile number when switching from one mobile network operator to another.

In short, MSISDN means the mobile number. It is a number uniquely identifying the subscription to a GSM or UMTS mobile network.

MT (mobile terminated)
A mobile message routed from a client or an application and delivered to the end user’s mobile phone.

A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a company that provides mobile phone service but does not have its own licensed frequency allocation of radio spectrum, nor does it necessarily have the entire infrastructure required to provide mobile telephone service.

HLR Lookup
HLR Lookup (Home Location Register) is a query to a central database that contains details of each mobile phone subscriber that is authorized to use the GSM core network. This feature is very useful to cleanup a database of number before sending an SMS campaign, by knowing if a number is still active or not. it is also used to know which target subscribers are currently roaming and therefore estimate the cost and impact of sending an SMS to this subscriber or not. The HLR Lookup feature has a very low cost and therefore can be extremely valuable in order to maximise the effciency and costs of sending an SMS.

Numeric sender ID
Default sender type of SMS message in standard MSISDN format. Recipients can reply to messages with a numeric sender ID (2-way messaging)

A feature of SMS-MT that sends over-the-air configuration messages, such as software updates, configuration settings and security locks.

P2A messaging
Person-2-application (P2A) is the process of sending mobile messages from a mobile user to an application. This definition is often used to define enterprise messaging.

P2P messaging
Person-2-Person (P2P) is the process of sending mobile messages from one mobile user to another. This is the usual traffic between subscribers of mobile operators.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) is the part of a service contract that formally defines the level of service and commitment of a each parties.

The short message peer-to-peer protocol (SMPP) is a telecommunications industry protocol for exchanging SMS messages between SMS peer entities such as short message service centers (SMSCs). This protocol is usually used for larger infrastructures handling large volumes of SMS. The simpliest alternative for smaller organizations or structures is to use the HTTP protocol.

SMS aggregator
An SMS aggregator is a mobile telecom company with multiple agreements with operators to send and receive data in and out of the operator’s SMSC, acting as an intermediary between organizations (i.e. content and brand owners) that want to interact with end users by means of their mobile phones, and mobile network operators.

SMS hubbing
SMS hubbing is a new structure for international SMS traffic, reshaping international mobile inter-operability by implementing hubs to intermediate SMS traffic and offer a larger SMS coverage. The GSM Association (GSMA) found in SMS hubbing the solution to a problem that limits the continuing growth of international SMS, culminating with the development of SMS hubbing trials in 2006, part of the Open Connectivity project. This initiative created a new structure for international SMS interoperability, as well as developed standards and requirements that SMS hubs should follow. Regardless of the maturity of the operator or number of subscribers, each subscriber expects to be able to send an SMS to other subscribers, regardless of country and mobile network.

A short message service centre (SMSC) is an element of mobile telecommunications networks which delivers SMS messages.

Signaling System #7 (SS7) is a set of telephony signaling protocols which are used to set up most of the world’s public switched telephone calls, also used in mobile messaging, prepaid billing and other applications.

2-way Messaging
Two-way messaging is the system that incorporates both outbound (MT) and inbound (MO) SMS into one featured service.

UDH (User Data Header) is a part of the SMS that provides instructions to the receiving handset about the type of message being sent. This is done to ensure correct delivery and message displayed.

Unicode is an industry standard allowing computers to consistently represent and manipulate text expressed in any of the world’s writing systems. As an SMS MT feature, it allows any content to be sent within a message.

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is a session-based text communication. It is available on every GSM-enabled mobile device. Because there is no store-and-forward mechanism present with USSD (unlike SMS), the protocol is more practical for interactive communication, such as banking or education.

Wap Push
WAP Push has been incorporated into the specification to allow WAP content to be pushed to the mobile handset with minimum user intervention. A WAP Push is basically a specially encoded message which includes a link to a WAP address. WAP Push is specified on top of WDP; as such, it can be delivered over any WDP-supported bearer, such as GPRS or SMS.


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