Let your text messages expire

Using Text Message Validity Period

A little known feature of text messaging is the ability to set validity periods – this is the amount of time that a mobile operator will keep a text message on their SMSC (Short Message Service Centre), if the mobile handset is off or out of coverage before they expire the message – i.e. the mobile operator gives up trying to deliver it.

The default validity period is set by the mobile operator’s SMSC, and this can vary from operator to operator, but the most common default is 48 hours. So if your text message can’t be delivered to the mobile handset during that time, it will reach a final state and return the status code of 3 (expired).

By using the validity period options of our SMPP v3.4 interface or HTTP REST API you can override the default validity period of a text message, by specifying the time allowed in seconds. This can be anything from a matter of seconds, to up to 7 days, beyond this and you’ll likely run in to problems.

Why Use Text Message Validity Period

Good question! The reasons for using this functionality can be varied, but key to this would be due to the content being unusable or out of date should the recipient get the text message after a set time.

Some examples are:

  • One Time Passwords – for security reasons, it’s wise to a have a validity period for PIN codes sent via text message. Perhaps 30 minutes, or even less depending how strict your policy.
  • Special Offers – for limited time promotional activity to drive response or uptake during a specific time window, ensuring customers are not disappointed if they receive the text message later and the offer is no longer available.
  • M2M Text Messages – remote monitoring devices often only ‘wake up’ every now and again so as to conserve battery life, so extending the validity period for text messages containing commands for your remote devices can assist in reducing spending on text messages that expire before being received by the device.

However, please be very aware that this functionality is entirely dependant on the mobile operator’s SMSC supporting this functionality, which is not guaranteed. We recommend testing to different networks within the countries you will be sending in order to verify expected behaviour.

If you have any questions regarding this or getting setup to send your bulk, marketing or emergency alert text messages, please contact us.