SMS Glossary: 50 most commonly used SMS industry terms

Each industry has specific terminology. The SMS business is no exception. We have decided to share with you 50 most commonly used SMS industry terms in the form of an SMS glossary. 

1. A2P Messaging 

Application-to-person messaging is the process of sending mobile messages from an application, online platform, to a mobile user. All messages which do not originate from a mobile device with a SIM card are referred to as A2P messages

2. Alphanumeric Sender ID

The combination of numeric and alpha characters (0-9, a-z, A-Z, _) in a Sender ID. It's changeable to fit users need. The receiver of the message can't reply on messages with alphanumeric sender ID.

3. Binary Messages

Binary Messages are messages requiring specific encoding to overcome the limitation in a number of characters in one SMS message. Binary messages are used for specific characters in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Slavic languages (e.g., Russian). Such messages are used for sending ringtones, pictures, or to send WAP Push messages.

4. Concatenated Messages

Concatenated messages are messages that require particular encoding to overcome the characters' limit in a single SMS. Long messages are divided into smaller messages by the sending device and recombined at the receiving end. Each message is then billed separately.

5. DLR (Delivery Report)

Delivery report or DLR is one of the main features of the SMS MT that enables delivery reporting for every message sent. DLR is sourced directly from the handset.

6. Fixed Sender ID

Fixed Sender ID is a predetermined numeric sender ID which can't be modified according to the user's needs. This is a mobile number displayed on the recipient's cell phone. It is in standard MSISDN format. 

7. Flash SMS

The flash message service enables you to send an SMS which will appear on the recipient's mobile phone screen. With the flash SMS the recipient does not need to go to the mobile phone inbox to read the message as it appears directly on the screen.

8. Global Title (GT)

A Global Title (GT) is an address used in the SCCP protocol for routing signaling messages on telecommunications networks. In theory, a global title is a unique address which refers to only one destination, though in practice destinations can change over time.

9. IMSI

IMSI is an International Mobile Subscriber Identity, which is a unique number associated with all GSM and UMTS network mobile phone users. IMSI is kept in the SIM card and is sent by phone to the network.

10. Local Time Stamp 

The local time stamp is an SMS MT feature displaying the local time timestamp of the home mobile network. This feature is very useful for international mobile service providers and enterprises, which need to have the exact sending time adapted to the local time.

11. MNO

A mobile network operator (MNO) is a telephone company that provides various services for mobile phone subscribers.

12. MO SMS (Mobile Originated SMS Message) 

Mobile Originated message is the message which customer sends from his mobile phone to SMS service provider. MO message, as the name says, originates from end user's mobile phone and is delivered to a mobile phone or an application.  

13. Mobile Number Portability (MNP)

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) enables mobile phone users to keep their mobile telephone numbers when they change the mobile network operator. In the same time, MNP service provides access to the vital information on mobile number identity and verification. Such information is crucial to carriers and mobile operators to improve delivery success rates and ported-number routing efficiency.

14. MSISDN

Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number (MSISDN) is a number which identifies a mobile phone number internationally. It identifies a subscription in a GSM or UMTS mobile network. This number includes country code and a National Destination Code which identifies the subscriber's network operator. The maximum length of an MSISDN is 15 digits.

15. MT SMS (Mobile Terminated SMS Message)

Mobile Terminated message gets terminated on the mobile phone. This mobile message is routed from a client or an application and delivered to the end user's mobile phone. 

16. MVNO

MVNO is a mobile virtual network operator. It is a company that provides mobile phone service but does not have its own licensed frequency allocation of the radio spectrum, nor does it have the necessary infrastructure to provide the full mobile network service. An MVNO usually signed a business agreement with a mobile network operator to get access to bulk MNO services at wholesale rates. Subsequently, MVNO then defines its own retail prices.

17. HLR Query / Network Query / Number Lookup

Number Lookup is also known as HLR (Home Location Register) Lookup or Network Query. It is a central database that contains details of each mobile phone subscriber that is authorized to use the GSM core network.

18. Numeric Sender ID

Default sender type of SMS message in standard MSISDN form. Recipients can reply to messages with a numeric sender ID.

19. OTA (Over-The-Air)

A feature of SMS MT (Mobile Terminated) that sends over-the-air configuration messages, such as software updates, configuration settings, and security locks.

20. P2A Messaging (Person 2 Application)

P2A messaging is the process of sending mobile messages from a mobile user to an app. P2A is often used to define enterprise/business messaging.

21. P2P Messaging (Person to Person)

P2P messaging is the process of sending SMS from one mobile user to another. This is the common traffic between subscribers of mobile operators. 

22. SLA

Service Level Agreement (SLA) is the part of a service contract formally defining the level of service. 

23. SMPP

SMPP is the short message peer-to-peer protocol. It is a telecom industry protocol for exchanging SMS messages between SMS peer entities such as short message service centers (SMSCs). 

24. SMS Aggregator

An SMS Aggregator is a mobile telecom company with multiple agreements with MNOs to send and receive data from the operator's SMSC. SMS Aggregator is an intermediary between companies that want to interact with end-users and mobile network operators.

25. SMS Delivery

SMS delivery is the distribution of mobile messages, including SMS and Premium SMS, directly to the end-users' mobile devices.

26. SMS Hubbing

SMS Hubbing is a new structure for international SMS traffic, reshaping international mobile interoperability by employing messaging centers/hubs to intermediate SMS traffic and offer a larger SMS coverage. The GSMA defines SMS hubbing as the solution to a limitation of the steady international SMS traffic growth. It culminated with SMS hubbing trials in 2006, as the part of the Open Connectivity project. This project created a new structure for international SMS interoperability and defined new standards for the SMS hubs. Regardless of the maturity of the MNO or number of subscribers, each subscriber wants to be able to send an SMS to other subscribers, regardless of country and mobile network. 

27. SMSC

A short message service center (SMSC) is an element of mobile telecommunications networks which delivers SMS messages.

28. SS7

Signalling System #7 (SS7) is a set of telephony signaling protocols which are used to set up most of the world's public switched telephone calls. This system is also used in mobile messaging, prepaid billing and other applications.

29. TON/NPI Settings

This SMS MT feature allows senders to manage originator and destination settings.

30. Unicode

Unicode is an industry-standard allowing computers to consistently represent and manipulate text expressed in any of the world's writing systems. As an SMS MT feature, it allows any content to be sent within a message.

31. WAP Push

WAP Push allows WAP content to be pushed to the mobile handset with a minimum user intervention. A WAP Push is a specially encoded message including a link to a WAP address. Such solution enables the end-user to connect directly to a specific URL via the mobile phone's WAP browser, rather than having to type in the URL or to use one of the phone's options to visit the URL by extracting it from the text message body. WAP Push is specified on top of WDP; as such, it can be delivered over any WDP-supported bearer, such as GPRS or SMS. 

32. Multi-tenancy

The ability for multiple customers to use the service at the same time, each within a different and secure environment. HORISEN SMS Platform enables multitenant support of resellers and customers. 

33. Short code 

Short codes are easy-to-remember, human-friendly numbers, usually 3 to 7 digits in length, used to send and receive SMS messages. Short codes are always provided by the operator. They can either be a specific SC or a random generated one – specific SC is more expensive.

34. Long code

Long codes are long phone numbers, usually just like a standard telephone number. They are global reply services since they enable receiving replies from local and international destinations. Long codes are a very good choice if a company wants to reach clients internationally. 

35. SMS keyword

SMS keywords is a short word made out of letters or/and numbers. The keyword is the first of two basic components of every successful SMS marketing campaign. The customer needs to text this keyword to the short code to trigger a response. 

36. LTE

Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile devices and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements. 

37. Termination rates 

Termination rates are the charges which one telecommunications operator charges to another for terminating calls on its network.

38. 3G Mobile Technology 

3G mobile technology was introduced in 2003. The key advantage of this technology was easier and faster internet access, which made it possible to browse web pages, make video calls, and download music and video on the move.

39. 4G Mobile Technology

4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone technology. The benefits of 4G are: improved download/upload speeds, reduced latency, and crystal clear voice calls.

40. 5G Mobile Technology

5th-Generation Wireless Systems. Key features of 5G include high throughput, low latency, high mobility, and high connection density. 5G combines cloud services, extremely high-speed internet, personal broadcasting capability, location-based technology, and wireless technology. 

41. CPaaS

Communications Platform as a Service or Cloud communications platform is a cloud-based platform enabling developers to add real-time communications features (voice, video, and SMS messaging) in their own applications without needing to build backend infrastructure and interfaces. 

42. OTP SMS

One-Time Password (OTP) is a technological mechanism through which a single-use password is generated and sent to the registered mobile number. It is also known as two-factor authentication. OTP SMS is the best method to deliver your one-time password. 

43. Transactional SMS

Transactional SMS is employed for delivering information such as account updates, transaction updates, shipping updates, order updates. 

44. 2-Way SMS

A combination of outbound (Mobile Terminated or MT) and inbound (Mobile Originated or MO) SMS into one fully-featured service. This means that the end-user can reply to an SMS sent from a business or app. 2-way SMS messaging is done using short codes or long codes (number).

45. Message Log 

The SMS Platform Message Log records information about each message in real-time. It enables period filter (month, year, day), routing filter (gate, operator, country, etc.), content filter (message ID, sender, text), and options filter. This is the first step you must take if there is an issue with your SMS traffic. 

46. MCC 

The Mobile Country Codes (MCC) are used in wireless telephone networks (GSM, CDMA, UMTS, etc.) to identify the country which a mobile subscriber belongs to.

47. MNC 

The Mobile Network Code is either a two or three-digit number used to identify a mobile network in a specified country. The MNC is used as part of the IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) and LAI (Location Area Identity).

48. SMS Gateway 

An SMS gateway is a point of entry or exit for SMS messages. It is a network node equipped for connecting to another network that uses the same or different protocols. The most common protocols are SMPP and HTTP.

49. Kannel SMS

Kannel is a compact and very powerful open source WAP, and SMS gateway used widely across the globe both for serving trillions of short messages (SMS), WAP Push service indications and mobile internet connectivity.

50. DCS (data coding scheme) 

Data Coding Scheme is a one-octet field in Short Messages (SM) and Cell Broadcast Messages (CB) which carries basic information on how the recipient handset should process the received message. 


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