How does SMS work in India? What are the guidelines, rules and regulations for consumer and business SMS usage? Here’s your SMS guide.
Let’s start this SMS guide with some of the more familiar incidents. Read on.
When you receive any SMS, many times instead of Sender’s Mobile no, you see something like LM-EXOTEL. You would surely have got used to these type of SMS from your bank, e-commerce companies etc.
So, how are these SMS different from the SMS sent from your mobile? With below table, you will be very clear on this:
|P2P SMS(Person-to-Person SMS)||A2P SMS( Application-to-Person SMS)|
|SMS from Mobile to Mobile. E.g, sending out an SMS from one mobile no. to another||SMS from an Application to Mobile. E.g, Sending out an SMS via Exotel (Any service provider like SMS Gupshup, ValueFirst etc.) dashboard, or application.|
|Sender’s Mobile no. is displayed on receivers Mobile||SenderID instead of Mobile no. shown at receiver’s end.A 6 character Sender ID like LM-JABONG for transactional SMS and LM-012345 for Promotional.Read below for more on Sender IDs, and for further classification of Transactional & promotional SMS, read this|
|You can reply back to the same number||You can not reply back to the Sender-ID|
|You can not make out the sender unless that sender’s no is stored in mobile or you have TrueCaller application and are willing to let your contact base go to the entire world 😉||Great Branding Opportunity for Companies|
|All SMS sent through it are deemed transactional||2 categories of SMS:Transactional & Promotional SMS|
|May have different rates for Local & STD SMSs||Same rate across India|
|SMS recharge packs available from your operator, or online via sites like Paytm, Freecharge etc.||For a business, there will be some fixed charges for Transactional and Promotional and if you take the service from us – the pricing is here.|
|With TRAI’s THE TELECOM COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATIONS CUSTOMER and PREFERENCE (EIGHTH AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2011, operators can provide SMS packs for max of only 200 SMS per SIM per Day. After that its has to be mandatory charged at minimum Rs 0.5/SMS||No SMS limit or rate difference on no. of SMS to be sent from service provider (or if you use us, you use until your Exotel balance runs out :D)|
|Special rates for Blackout days(Diwali, New Year etc. when Whatsapp and Hike become the tune for the day for spam)||No special rates on Blackout days needed|
So, when does sending SMS through my phone becomes not scalable for your business?
As already mentioned, after 200 SMS on concessional rates, you are going to be charged at least 50p/SMS on SMS via mobile. Also, the pain of selecting the contacts from address book via Mobile or connection manager is too cumbersome.
We would anytime suggest your business needs to send more than 50 business SMS per day, to start using a service provider, be it us or anyone else, for some of the following reasons (and we will be a bit biased in speaking about our features):
a) Use Exotel’s list feature for sending out SMS. Use Exotel’s customized reports to calculate the ROI.
b) The time you spend on selecting contacts via phone is saved totally and same list can be reused as and when required.
Also, all A2P SMS are sent through a Sender ID. So, what are these Sender ID’s. How does it give a branding opportunity?
Every time you take out cash from your ATM, an instant SMS from LM-HDFCBK/VM-HDFCBK comes to your mobile. It gives instant recognition to a brand’s communication.
A Sender ID is 6 character Identity of the Sender for all A2P SMS. A typical SenderID would like LM-XXXXXX. TRAI has categoried A2P SMS in 2 types : Transactional & Promotional. SenderIDs for both differs.
Transactional SenderIDs are 6 character alphabetic SenderID like LM- CITIBK, LM-GOOGLE.
Do’s & Do not’s :
- Special Characters like dot(.),comma(,),hypen(-),underscore(_) etc are not allowed.
- Transactional SenderIDs should be in uppercase alphabets only.
- SenderID should resemble only your company name.
- Should not try to impersonate any celebrity/company name.
Promotional SenderIDs :6 Digit Numeric SenderIDs in format LM-XYYYY like LM-012345.
Do’s & Do not’s :
- The last 5 numbers are specifically allocated to a registered Telemarketer by Operator.
- Only Numerical characters allowed.
- The First digit X refers to the category for which promotional SMS belongs to. For Eg, if I am a travel company, then ideally, the SMS should be sent through SenderID LM-712345.
How Exotel (or any service provider) help your company with SenderIDs? :
You can get your company specific Sender ID when you purchase a number from any SMS operator you might use. For e.g, if you are running a company say E-sports Pvt ltd, then for sending an SMS to your customer by choosing a specific Sender ID such as “LM-ESPORT”. All your outgoing SMS will then go through the Sender ID “LM-ESPORT”.
With all the above info, you must be wondering what does LM stand for in A2P SMS?
As per by TRAI Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (Sixth Amendment) Regulations, 2011, effective from 27th Sept 2011, all A2P SMSs have to be sent in format of XY-ABCDEF where X is Operator’s code & Y – Region code.
Below table shows the common Operator codes & Region codes :
|Operators Code||Region code|
|Loop Telecom(BPL Mobile)||L||Mumbai||M|
Major SMS Gateway Providers in India are Loop, Aircel, Vodafone,TATA, BSNL and MTNL.
Location wise, majority of A2P SMS originates from Mumbai or Delhi circle as Operators they have done their SMSC setup their.
So next time an SMS comes to you, you can easily make out from where & which operator the A2P SMS is sent via.
Hope reading this was informative and makes your life a bit less complicated?
If you are interested in using SMS for user verification, two-factor authentication using OTP SMS, Request a Demo of this use case. And get a Free trial account with INR 1000.
Read about why SMS Campaigns are beneficial for your company’s marketing efforts.