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What is SMS?

What is SMS?

SMS, also known as short messaging service, is the rage in Europe and parts of Asia. Gradually SMS is gaining momentum in the US as a low cost messaging solution. SMS is defined as text messages, up to 160 characters in length, sent to mobile phones. In recent months SMS has become synonymous with any text message sent to a cell phone.

Benefits to SMS
SMS is a convenient, cost effective alternative to voice messaging. SMS popularity has grown as a result of:
1.) Cost - SMS is less expensive then the airtime used for voice calls or web access.
2.) Non-intrusive - messages are received in a discrete fashion and do not interrupt an individual if they are in the middle of a meeting
3.) Integration Capabilities - many software programs can be set up to send text alerts to mobile phones when urgent conditions exist.

Short Messaging Explained
Short messages can originate from other phones, personal computers or the Internet. Consumers and businesses alike use SMS for remote communication, allowing for staff to be mobile and stay in touch with those who matter.

Who Offers SMS?
Today nearly all the cellular carriers provide some level of SMS or text messaging capabilities. Cost and features vary, with carriers offering a variety of packages to suit individual or business needs. Typically there are three options that carriers provide:
1.) Free of Charge - text messaging is included as part of a select plan.
2.) Per Message Fee - users are charged per message.
3.) Monthly Fee - a set monthly fee includes a specified number of text messages.

How Do You Send SMS Messages?
Messages can be sent a variety of ways, depending on the service provider that you use.

SMS Software
The most popular way to send text messages is using software. When using software there is no cost associated with the sending of messages. Depending on the carrier that you are sending to messages can be sent any number of ways. Different carriers use different standards or protocols, the common protocols supported by most software is: via modem (TAP, UCP), the Internet ((SNPP, WCTP) and via email (SMTP). Software is flexible and often allows for group or scheduled messaging. Another benefit to software is the ability to automate processes, sending SMS alerts when specific conditions exist often without the need for human interaction.

SMS Software - free trials available for download and evaluation

Public SMS Gateway
Public gateways are often referred to as SMSC or SMS centers. The centers typically run a robust software application (like advanced versions of those mentioned above) and subscribe to a large database that allows for the messages to be routed to the appropriate carriers using the appropriate settings. When using an SMSC the sender incurs a per message charge. Cost will vary depending on the SMSC used to send the message but its not uncommon for it to cost .05 per message.

Phone to Phone
Many of the new mobile phones and those on the GSM network allow for messages to be sent from phone to phone. The keypads are rudimentary and not conducive for long messages but are effective when time is an issue and a concise message is needed.

Win for everyone
SMS messaging has been helpful to consumers and carriers, as the cost of sending and delivering SMS messages is relatively low. SMS messages have proven to be a lucrative revenue stream for struggling telecom providers.

The Future of SMS
SMS will continue to grow as part of the telecom industry. As software processes become more complex users will exploit text messaging capabilities in order to allow for additional mobility in the workplace.

About the Author -
NotePage, Inc. develops SMS, alphanumeric paging and wireless messaging software solutions.


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