Mobile Messaging FAQ

What is text messaging? How can I send text messages?

Text messaging is a form of communication available on cell phones that allow a cell phone user to send plain text messages to another cell phone without making a phone call. Other terms for text messaging are: Short Message Service (SMS), mobile messaging, short mail, texting and wireless messaging.

Most cell phones made in the last few years are text message-enabled but fees from your wireless company do apply. You can contact your wireless company or reference your cell phone’s manual to determine if your phone can send and receive text messages. If your phone is capable of sending text messages, you can find the Messages menu from the main menu on your phone. This is the start point for reading received messages, replying to messages received or creating new ones.

Is text messaging the same as email?

messaging is very similar to email but they are technically different. Text messaging uses your wireless company’s network and resources instead of the internet. Also, text messages are sent to a cell phone number instead of an email address.

Who can I send SMS or text messages to?

You can send SMS/text messages to any other mobile phone that is capable of receiving them by addressing your message to their cell phone number. Many companies and television shows are beginning to use text messaging as a way to interact with their consumers through polls, games, and voting. Companies use shorter “phone numbers” known as “short codes.” You can look for short codes on product packaging or listen for them on the radio or television.

What kind of phone do I need to send SMS or text messages?

It would be hard to buy a new phone that does not allow you to send and receive text messages. If you have a much older model phone, you should contact your wireless company for information about sending and reading text messages or to give you information about upgrading to a new phone.

How does SMS or text messaging work?

Text messages or SMS use mobile phone networks to transmit messages between cell phones. Text messages are delivered and handled essentially the same as a voice call except they go through a messaging server that routes messages to the designated recipient’s phone number.

Are there charges for sending and receiving text message?

A person’s wireless company dictates the fees for each message sent or received. Typically, prices range from free as part of an add-on package to your standard calling plan to 10 cents each.

Is there a limit to how long a text message can be?

Most phones are capable of receiving a text message up to 160 characters. This includes all letter, spaces, punctuation and symbols.

What is a Short Code?

Short codes are typically used exclusively by companies, television shows or radio stations for promotions. They are similar to web site addresses in that they are easy for customers to remember and often the digits of the short code spell out a word (Example: the digits 639227 spell NEWCAR). They also act as a cell phone number, directing the wireless carrier where to send the message. Short codes generally accept “keywords” and the two are used together (For example: text message the word “INFO” to “NEWCAR”) to receive information, sign up for a specific alert or cast a vote in an interactive poll.

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is the name given to the alert users sign up for by sending that keyword to the short code.

What does opt-in mean? What is a double opt-in?

The term opt-in means to sign up for or join a particular alert and happens when a customer text messages a short code with a keyword. This message is taken as permission by the company or service using the short code to send messages to that user. Double opt-in is a safeguard put in place by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to guard against accidental opt-ins and is used to confirm a user’s initial message to opt-in.

Is text message marketing regulated?

The FCC regulates all mobile messaging commerce by requiring the opt-in and double opt-in procedures. They also require a mandatory opt-out option in all alerts. Companies that do not abide by the FCC regulations face stiff fines or revocation of their short code or text messaging rights.

What does it mean to Opt-out?

Opt-out happens when you quit a text message alert or campaign. Companies have to give you the option and instructions at the end of each message to stop receiving mobile messages from them.

What is a "Premium" campaign?

Premium campaigns are SMS or text messaging campaigns that charge the user either per message or a monthly subscription fee for being a part of that alert or promotion. Examples of this include ring tone companies, the joke of the day service and certain interactive polls.

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