How to Choose an SMS Gateway Provider

Once you’ve decided that you would like to integrate a mobile marketing strategy into your overall marketing strategy, you will need to know how to choose an SMS gateway provider. Choosing a gateway provider can be a bit tricky, so we’ve put together this handy guide to help walk you through the process. This guide is much simpler than our more in-depth SMS Gateway provider article we wrote awhile back.


The first thing you will want to know is that an SMS gateway provider is basically a business or company that provides SMS messaging services. They are not a mobile network operator, but they will act as the middleman between the operators and your SMS end users. SMS gateway providers can also be called SMS service providers, SMS brokers, or SMS resellers. There ARE differences between these titles.

An SMS gateway provider provides an SMS gateway for its users to send text messages to. This gateway will route the messages to another SMS gateway or SMSC. An SMS reseller or SMS broker buys text messages in bulk from numerous different wireless carriers at a very lost cost per text message. They then sell the same messages at a higher price to the company that is wanting to use the messages for their SMS program. Keeping all this in mind, these are the 13 questions you want to ask yourself when deciding on an SMS gateway provider.

How Much Does a Single Message Cost? 

Credit-based gateway providers allow you to buy credits for your text messages. For example, you can purchase X amount of credits from the provider. Sending a message will cost you X amount of credits depending on which country the message is going to.

SMS-based providers also allow you to buy credits for your text messages, but instead you are paying as you go rather than buying a bunch of credits at the beginning of the month like with credit-based SMS.

Now, you would think you would only want to purchase SMS-based credits, but if your provider allows you rollover credits from month to month, then sticking with credit-based might be the better choice.

Are There Hidden Costs? 

Sometimes there may be some hidden charges associated with the pricing of your SMS messaging program. A lot of companies like to hide a lot of their fees so their services look cheaper on the service, when it’s really not. Be aware of any hidden charges and fees before ever diving into an SMS marketing program.

What Are the Minimum Buying or Monthly Usage Requirements? 

Some gateway providers will require you to buy a minimum number of credits each time you make a purchase. If you are feeling iffy about your SMS program anyways, you will want to find a provider that does not have a minimum requirement so you can feel more comfortable starting out.

Luckily, most gateway providers do not have minimum requirements on a monthly basis. You usually see mobile network operators set requirements. For example, a network operator may not offer you any SMS messaging services until you have built up your monthly traffic to at least 50,000 messages. So in other words, if you’re starting out, find someone without a minimum monthly requirement.

Is the Gateway Provider’s Coverage Good? 

This will be dependent on who and where you are trying to reach with your messsages. Some gateway providers will not be able to deliver messages to certain countries and mobile operators, so you will want to be aware of these if they exist. The list of countries and operators supported by a particular provider can usually be found on their website.

Despite this, you will still want to doublecheck to make sure that their list is updated and accurate. A lot of providers allow you a certain number of free messages to test out their coverage, so use these to your advantage.


What is the Quality of the Provider’s Network 

Keep in mind that if a provider is offering you an extremely cheap price per message, then their network’s quality may be poor. In other words, your messages may get delayed in their delivery, or they may not make it to their destinations at all. Like with coverage, you will want to take advantage of any free messages the provider offers so you can test out the quality of their network.

Does the Provider Support the Interface/Protocol You Want to Use? 

The most common protocols and interfaces supported by providers are HTTP, HTTPS, XML over HTTP/HTTPS, SMTP, FTP, and SMPP. You can get a more detailed explanation of each of these protocols in our in-depth service provider article. Depending on your provider, you may or may not be getting the protocol you want, so make sure you know  which ones are offered before diving into a campaign.

Is the Provider’s API Easy to Use and Well Documented? 

If your provider has an API and sample code that is well documented, this could be invaluable to developers due to the time they save on development. You can use this API documentation to see what specific elements it can support before ever making a final decision on your provider.

What Are the Payment Options Offered by the Service Provider?

Usually, service providers will let you pay with credit since most SMS programs run off of a web-based account management system. Some may also offer PayPal, check payments, direct deposits, or wire transfers. However, since the web-based account management systems usually allow you to manage your entire SMS campaign from a central location you will probably end up paying with credit. On another note, you will also want to be aware of the different features offered by different web-based platforms.

Are Free Messages Offered by the Provider? 

If they are, use them to test out their network’s coverage and quality. You do not want to blindly purchase SMS messages or credits without knowing the full capabilities of your network.

Are 2-Way Messaging Services Offered? 

Every single gateway provider will offer 1-way messaging, but some will also offer 2-way messaging which will give you and your end users to send and receive messages, not just send messages. This will depend on the SMS campaign you plan to run, but if you are hoping to communicate with your customers back and forth, you will want to make sure you have 2-way messaging capabilities.

How Good is the Provider’s Support? 

This can be the most important part of choosing a service provider! If your provider simply sets you up with an SMS campaign, sells you credits and messages, and just lets you go after that, who will you turn to for help if you have a problem or question? The best service providers have a complete understanding of their own system and are willing to give you full support whenever you may need it. Make sure you have a good idea of the support you will be given before ever jumping into your SMS program.

Of course, this is just scraping the surface when it comes to the considerations you need to make when choosing an SMS gateway provider. This article simplified the process as best as possible, but you can learn much, much more in our in-depth article regarding SMS gateway providers. Good luck!

Bulk SMS Text Messaging; Send SMS Anywhere in the World


Bulk SMS messaging is a way to send high volumes of text messages to potential customers, suppliers, employees, and partners that allows you to connect and interact with them. Oftentimes companies will use bulk SMS messaging for entertainment, enterprise, and mobile marketing purposes. More specifically, you can send alerts, reminders, notifications, or announce competitions where the receiver could win a prize or trip. This is a service currently offered by SMS company AnchorMobile and you can use this SMS gateway provider service virtually anywhere in the world.

To use this service, you first need the software. There are several software packages available for bulk SMS broadcasting and these packages allow the user to add as many phone numbers as the user would like. The user can manage these phone numbers in several different ways; whatever best suits the user’s wants and needs. Most SMS software applications allow you to upload lists of phone numbers using a TXT or CSV file. If your system is more refined, it will automatically remove any duplicate numbers and will validate all numbers to ensure they are indeed real cell phone numbers before sending the mass text messages like ours does. To take it a step further, you can also schedule your text messages to be sent at specific times throughout the day, or space your messages out across several days, weeks, or even months. Again, remember that these messages can be sent nationally as well as internationally using AnchorMobile’s mobile marketing platform.

There are several ways to help your mass SMS text messaging campaign benefit your company or business. To be more specific about what was mentioned before, you can use it for alerts to inform people about important events or situations, you can use it for reminders to remind people about appointments, events, and payments, and you can use it to promote competitions and actively invite people to participate in your competition using two-way messaging or SMS advertising You can use two-way messaging and short codes to ensure a direct line of communication with your customers. Notifications can also be sent to inform customers, suppliers, and partners about relevant information, developments, or changes to plans or your organization. Other ways to use SMS is through personalized priority messaging, which is basically a way to make sure you are sending the right information, to the right person, at the right time. Reservations and bookings can also be made through SMS messaging to make, confirm, or change them.

With AnchorMobile’s ability to send bulk SMS message almost literally anywhere in the world, the possibilities are endless. Bulk SMS text messaging is an easy way to reach anyone you need to in real time. Not only is bulk messaging a great way to reach customers and increase revenue flow into your business, but it can also be used internally to streamline communication within your company and speed up the communication process so you can focus on the bottom line.

To learn more about acquiring an SMS Short Code or Long Code to originate the bulk SMS and pricing per nation, contact an AnchorMobile consultant today.