Intelligent Solutions

SMS improvements

Simon Woodhead

Simon Woodhead

11th June 2024

By Simon Woodhead

Those who know us of old know Simwood started life as “eSMS” – the world’s first global gateway between the Internet and mobile phones way back in 1996. We brought two-way e-mail to the ordinary mobile phone! There were no aggregators then either, we used to send and receive SMS via all manner of means from banks of old Nokias through to an X.25 terminal. Back then you couldn’t even send SMS between networks (in the UK at least) – another problem eSMS solved. Some of our oldest customers will remember these times, but enough reminiscing…

SMS has remained a service of ours ever since but has looked very very different to those early days and, to be honest, hasn’t grown as much as voice because we haven’t nurtured it as much. It has always represented a premium offering to the many aggregators though because our SMS is delivered directly to bona-fide MNOs; we haven’t used aggregators at all and can therefore be totally confident that 100% of the messages sent, get to interconnected MNOs. Remember that when you next have to request an OTP 4 times because some procurement guru bought SMS for 50% less! 

In an effort to make more of our capabilities here we’ve made some changes to our offer.

First-off, SMS now has its own A-Z rate sheet, to give us the granularity we’ve lacked in billing. You’ll find this in the portal and API along with your voice rates.

The astute will spot that this has no dial-codes in it. Dial codes (as used in voice routing and rating) were simple for customers and worked well before. They no longer do, and at the risk of a little extra complexity for our customers, we’ve needed to change it up. You’ll notice our rate sheet now contains Mobile Network Codes (MNCs), and/or a catchall by country. Rather than relate to the network assigned a block of numbers, the MNC refers to the network the number is currently active on. So an SMS sent to an O2 number ported to Three will be charged based on delivery to Three. This complexity reflects how the cost and routing side has always been and is unfortunately necessary by virtue of divergence in UK SMS rates and the need to price networks differently to give the best value to customers.

So how do you know what network is currently on? The answer is an HLR request. You can perform these easily through the API and will get the current MNC back in the response to enable you to make a routing decision. Or, you can just route to us as you always have safe in the knowledge we’ll charge you appropriately.

When examining HLR responses, you may notice an MNC which looks improper – 234SW. As long-time readers will know, despite our heritage in SMS, despite ground-breaking products like Simwood Mobile amongst numerous other reasons, Ofcom refuses to allocate us an MNC until we demonstrate subservience to the oligopoly. 234SW is therefore us and means nothing off of the Simwood network, but it enables you to identify and enjoy discounted rates on SMS to numbers which are on-net. 

Current rate cards represent no change in price, the ability to download them from the portal and the changed application of them will be rolling out over the next 24 hours or so. We look forward to talking to key customers over coming months and leveraging this enhanced flexibility to build volume.

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