Understanding the SMS Value Chain

Who are the players involved in delivering a SMS?

1. The subscribers

  • They are mobile users just like you or me. They use a unique mobile phone number provided by their mobile carrier and belong to a specific mobile carrier in a specific country. They are the users that you want to deliver your messages to.

2. The mobile carriers

  • They are the entities that come to mind when thinking about mobile phones and delivering SMS: the mobile carriers operates their telecom networks across the World. Typically, each country will have several mobile carriers (also called mobile operators) and each of them will have millions of subscribers who use a mobile phone number that they manage.
  • Most of the mobile carriers are major businesses in their countries and cannot be approached or connected directly or easily by anyone willing to deliver SMS programmatically to their users.
  • For the sake of their business and the quality of the service that they provide to their subscribers, they are very sensitive about the nature of the contents that are being sent on their networks to their subscribers. To ensure that their subscribers avoid any unsolicited or malicious communications they can apply active filtering on their networks. Anyone willing to use a mobile carrier’s network to deliver its contents should be wary about this and respectful of the local rules when it comes to text messaging.

3. The SMS aggregators

  • Local or international companies, they are connected with multiple mobile carriers and offer their connectivity to those operators through SMS gateways accessible programmatically (API, SMPP bind) or web-interfaces (campaign managers, SMS senders).
  • They act as facilitators and enablers in a world where we account more than 800 mobile carriers across 200+ territories: it is much easier to use the services of an aggregator when it comes to delivering messages to subscribers spread across various mobile carriers in one country, one region or the entire World.
  • A lot of companies offer that kind of services but their access and quality of services can vary greatly. It is important to use the services of an aggregators with direct connections to the operators, a robust messaging platform as well as efficient APIs. Good players in that category will have a deep knowledge of the local regulations and specificities and will adapt and fine-tune the behavior of their getaway to the local context while offering a global service.

4. The Application providers

  • They are the companies and developers originating the SMS in the messaging value-chain.
  • They have their pool of users, owners of a mobile phone number and they use the aggregators connectivity to reach them on their mobile network.
  • The application providers main concern will be the deliverability of their messages: whether the SMS sent contains notifications, marketing or authentication contents, they are valuable elements of a business process and should not be lost in the SMS delivery process. Applications providers should select their aggregators partners with care.