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SMS Gateways and Services for Indian Businesses

Sunday, February 07, 2010

If there one thing that is really booming in India right now, recession or no recession, its SMS - Short Messaging Service. The boom is evident straight from Twitter - Twitter users have grown phenomenally in India in 2009 especially after Twitter securing an SMS deal with India's largest mobile-service provider, AirTel at 110+ million userbase.

With the Twitter model, its easy to subscribe to updates. Google recently joined the race in SMS at Google India Labs : SMS Channels. Both these services require users to subscribe before any updates can be sent.

With SMS solutions becoming a major player in India, various SMS service providers have sprouted quickly.

General facts on SMS solutions :

  1. Most of these SMS Solutions have a 160 or 320 character limit and cost 1 SMS credit for every 160 characters.
  2. Most of them support all networks : All India GSM + CDMA Coverage including BSNL and Reliance IndiaMobile & TataIndicom.
  3. Some support international networks as well, but for USA, delivery to some mobile networks is not a guarantee. It instead ended up in my brother's inbox when I tried to send to his Chicago number. This varies from operator to operator and unlike in India, operators may charge for incoming messages ! If international SMS delivery is important, either send a support ticket asking which mobile networks are supported or you can directly opt for an international gateway provider like Clickatell.
  4. Short Codes for 2 way SMS are normally at an additional cost. The additional cost is not for the Short Code itself, but for a keyword that is used in the message when replying to the short code to identify your account / campaign. Most of these providers provide an unlimited number or a large number of short code keywords.
  5. In order to avoid being responsible for SPAM, an SMS API is not something that providers are eager to give away so easily. Most providers will either charge an amount or require documents, application for API usage which are screened thoroughly for an approval process. Some may further require an official letter to prove your brand trademark or a latter claiming responsibility for unfair API usage, incase of any.
  6. Official Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's website is trai.gov.in
  7. The National Do-Not-Call Registry has a database of mobile numbers which have been registered for Don-Not-Disturb. Legally you'll need to cross-check the recipient's number at the DND Check. So far there is no official API for bulks checks, so this is something you'll have to process manually once a while. Do-Not-Call = Do-Not-Disturb = No SMS please.
  8. List of mobile service providers : http://www.trai.gov.in/serviceproviderslist.asp
  9. Since February 2009, TRAI has made it mandatory to prepend 2 letters and a hyphen with the SenderID thus reducing it from 11 letters to 8 letters for a name. The first letter stands for the mobile service operator's name and the second letter for the location of the SMS being sent from. You can find this list here.
  10. Direct tie-up with a mobile operator requires a minimum monthly commitment that runs in lakhs of rupees, approx Rs 60 lakhs a month from one source. So some of these SMS providers may be resellers of bigger SMS providers.

Here are some useful SMS solutions for your business to market and promote your brand.

IndyaRocks / SMS Gold

  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.25 per SMS down to Rs 0.08 per SMS. Price exclusive of 10.3% service tax.
  • Validity : Unlimited
  • Payment Options : Net Banking, Wire-Transfer, Demand Draft
  • API : Not available for all. Free, only on request for their Rs 8,000 package customers after strict screening and approval on official documentation on API usage.
  • SenderID : Yes. Free for now. Requires documentary proof and will be activated only after the authentication process which may take upto 7 working days.
  • Free SMS : Yes. Unlimited SMS. 140 character limit appended by -Indayrocks at end of message.

SMS Country

  • SMS Country is more for the more business minded. They charge for SenderID, API and deliver to 200+ countries (international rates vary).
  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.15 per SMS till Rs 0.06 per SMS for delivery in India. Price inclusive of tax.
  • International Coverage : 200+ countries at different rates. Does not cover most USA mobile networks.
  • Validity : 6 months from the last date of purchase
  • Payment Options : PayPal, Credit Card, NetBanking, Wire-Transfer, Cheque, Demand Draft, Money Order, Cash Deposit, ItzCash
  • API : HTTP (GET / POST), XML, SMTP, COM. Requires a fixed IP address of server using API. $145 for setup and $131 annually with 2 sendernames and $78 annually for no sendernames.
  • SenderID : Yes. Rs 1500 or $40. Validity of Sender ID is for 1 year.
  • Free SMS : 10 SMS Credits.
  • 160 by 2 is a new initiative by SMS Country with currently 6+ million users. It provides FREE SMS service even to selected International networks. Right now its mainly to Middle Eastern countries and South East Asia. The catch is that its supported by 80 characters-limit ads which are appended to your 80 characters-limit message.

My SMS Mantra

  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.30 per SMS down to Rs 0.04 per SMS. Price exclusive of 10.3% tax.
  • Validity : 3 Years
  • Payment Options : PayPal, Cheque, Demand Draft.
  • API : HTTP (GET / POST)
  • SenderID : Yes. Free. Approval from mobile service provider in a few hours.
  • Its 2 way SMS has a "Toll Free SMS" feature, where website visitors can send SMS to your mobile number at no cost. The Website owner pays for incoming messages from these visitors.

FOO SMS

  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.25 per SMS down to Rs 0.05 per SMS. Price inclusive of tax.
  • International Coverage : Yes.
  • Validity : Unlimited
  • Payment Options : Wire-Transfer, Cheque, PayPal.
  • API : HTTP GET, SMPP, XML
  • SenderID : Yes. Free. Approval from mobile service provider in a few hours.
  • Free SMS : 10 credits on request.

Gateway4SMS

  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.15 per SMS down to Rs 0.06 per SMS. Price exclusive of 12.36% service tax.
  • Validity : 30 / 60 / 120 days
  • Payment Options : Wire-Transfer, PayPal
  • API : HTTP GET, SMPP, XML
  • SenderID : Yes. Costs additional Rs 500. Takes upto 24 hours on receipt of documents.
  • 2 Way SMS : Yes. Starts at Rs 3500 per month.
  • Free SMS : 5 credits

Snowebs

  • Snowebs, originally a desktop application that connects your mobile to your PC to send messages, now has a web interface as well.
  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.60 per SMS till Rs 0.30 per SMS. Price inclusive of tax.
  • International Coverage : Yes - USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, UAE and Germany
  • Validity : 30 / 60 / 90 / 180 / 365 days
  • Payment Options : Wire-Transfer, Cheque, Cash, DD, PayPal.
  • API : HTTP GET.
  • SenderID : Yes. 5 Free. Additional SenderIDs at Rs 75 each.
  • Free SMS : 2 credits.

Go For SMS

  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.60 per SMS down to Rs 0.28 per SMS. Price inclusive of tax.
  • Validity : 7 / 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 180 / 270 days
  • Payment Options : Wire-Transfer, PayPal, Eazy2Pay.
  • API : HTTP GET
  • SenderID : Yes. Free. Requires documentation for approval process. Default SenderID is GoForSMS
  • Free SMS : Yes (delivery is not guaranteed)

ZNI SMS

  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.90 per SMS down to Rs 0.15 per SMS. Price inclusive of tax.
  • Validity : 60 days
  • Payment Options : Online, Wire-Transfer
  • API : HTTP GET, XML
  • Free SMS : No
  • SenderID : Yes. Free. Requires documentation for approval process. Default SenderID is SMSALERT

SMS Junction

  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.25 per SMS down to Rs 0.08 per SMS. Price exclusive of service tax.
  • Validity : Monthly SMS Usage/Consumption
  • Payment Options :
  • API : HTTP (GET / POST), SMPP, E-Mail
  • SenderID : Yes

Full2SMS

  • Full2sms is a desktop application that sends messages from your PC via the Internet
  • Price : Starts at Rs 0.12 per SMS down to Rs 0.06 per SMS.
  • Validity : 45 days to 3 years
  • Payment Options : Wire-Transfer, DD, Cheque, Cash, PayPal.
  • API : HTTP (GET / POST)
  • SenderID : Yes.

22 comments:

Kamal said...

Hi Anjanesh,
this post is very helpful for my company.. i need your help a bit, since you have a good idea about the sms gateways. please kindly do so..
Reply me in my email id
kamal6009@gmail.com


Arun Mohan said...

Yeah its really good. I tried smsing from foosms.com & seems good, they offered better price and giving unlimited validity too.


as said...

checkout http://www.ebisms.com


keshava said...

Hi,

Your "SMS Gateways and Services for Indian Businesses" article is very nice. I need to know more information about this sms gateway business. Could you please give me your contact number so that I can call you.

My E-Mail Id
keshavamurthyk@gmai.com
mobile - +91 99860 94494


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hello anjanesh

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