Concatenated "Long Message" SMS feature now Live for the Bulk SMS system and the SMS Gateway

You can now send text messages longer than 160 characters, in fact up to 612 characters which arrive as 1 message on peoples’ phones – using either your Text Marketer Bulk SMS account or SMS Gateway.

I don’t want to send long messages, does it affect me?
No. Apart from some slight changes to the character counter in your account.  you can still send messages up to 160 characters for 1 credit, as normal.

I do want to do this, what do I need to know? What’s different?
If you want to use the long message feature (aka Concatenated Bulk Text Messaging), there are 2 main differences to be aware of:

1. Concatenated messages cost 1 credit per 153 characters. The reason this is reduced from the normal 160 characters is to allow for the ‘invisible glue’ code in each part of the message which is inserted so that the phone knows to join these parts together once it hits the phone (see illustration below).

2. For the first 24 hours or so in your delivery reports, you will receive a report per part of the concatenated message. For example, if you sent a full 612 character (4 part) message, your delivery report would show 4 reports per number. For your convenience, within around 24 hours, our system then ‘cleans’ your delivery reports to show just 1 outcome per mobile number.

What’s this ‘invisible glue’? Why do I only get 153 characters per message credit in a long message?
Previously you could only send 1 x 160 character message to any phone. As the medium exploded, people wanted the ability to send longer text messages and the networks responded by creating the ‘concatenated text message’. Due to the limitations of text messaging, a long message of say 612 characters is still sent as 4 individual messages. But, when our system tells the networks ‘these are 4 parts of 1 message’ they insert some code into each part which in turn tells the phone to display this as 1 message, instead of 4. This code takes 7 characters of ‘space’ in each part of the long message.
concat-exampleExample of the ‘invisible glue’ needed to ensure a long message is displayed as 1 message on the phone

I use the SMS Gateway. Can I send ‘long text messages’?
No problem at all. We have updated the SMS Gateway Integration document to reflect this change.
We hope this enhancement will help to increase the effectiveness of your SMS Marketing. If you are reading this and don’t yet have an account, why not get a free Bulk SMS account and have a free trial.