International Two Way SMS

There is no two ways about it (please excuse the pun!) international two way SMS can be difficult to achieve, but with companies and brands doing more business with customers worldwide, the need to have a globalised two way SMS service provider is important.

Some of the issues that can be experienced:


  1. Source Address (aka sender ID) is changed

    Not all countries and networks are equal, many have restrictions which don’t allow what are called dynamic source address. This means that in some cases if you set a local or international numeric source address with the intention of allowing the recipient to reply, your message can be filtered (i.e. blocked) or overwritten with an approved source address which means the recipient is no longer able to reply.
  2. Recipient can’t (or doesn’t want to) reply to an international numberNot all SMS numbers are equal, and no they are often not just the same as a normal mobile/cell phone number.Due to the way SMS ‘virtual numbers’ are provisioned by the supplying networks, it can mean that they are not accessible by networks outside of the home country they belong to. Also, for some countries where virtual numbers are not readily available, the only option is SMS enabled landlines and these are even less likely to be able to receive SMS from international subscribers!Replying to an international number other than that of your home country, can mean the user is charged for an international rate text message by their carrier. Some users may have international SMS blocked or if on a pre-pay phone, may not have available credit. In addition to this you may find that response rates are lower due to a natural suspicion of messages originating from a non-local number.This applies to one way messages too.. ever had a One Time Password arrive by text and it show as being from a random International number? It is not very good for branding and lowers your trust in that brand a little doesn’t it? Sometimes it is unavoidable, but for countries where this isn’t needed there are some companies (not naming names) out there that need to up their SMS game! This can be a by-product of using cheap ‘grey’ routes, SIM farms or just not tailoring their SMS to their international audience.


These are just some of the issues you can encounter when attempting two way SMS, so quality testing is essential in order to ensure the mobile users are receiving what you intended, and of course that they can reply!

Some countries can be more tricky than others, this can leave you with few options and potentially even some where there is no true two way option, in the traditional sense. Have exhausted all avenues, it may be that al you can do is include a reply number within the message body itself, inviting mobile users to reply to that instead of directly to a message. This is not ideal, but needs must on some occasions!

World Text has can provide two way SMS for many difficult countries (in addition to easy ones!), such as Argentina, India, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, Russia, France and The Philippines to name just a few. See any country not listed, get in contact!