13 Questions You Should Ask When Choosing An SMS Provider

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choosing an sms providerIf you are new to online SMS, researching and choosing an SMS provider can seem a daunting task. This is something that isn’t helped by the way some providers present themselves – it isn’t always clear what your costs will ultimately be when looking at complex pricing tables or even if the quality of the service will be up to scratch.

Unfortunately you could think you are getting a great deal from one of the many flashy faceless websites out there offering rock bottom prices, when in fact they are often single person outfits who are incapable of offering any form of reliable support and will be routing your messages through sub standard routes for profits’ sake.

The following outlines what you should consider when choosing your SMS provider as stated by DevelopersHome.com – an independent online information resource for mobile technologies. We feel their criteria for How to Choose an SMS Provider is a great starting point for people looking to use SMS text messaging in their business – we have even offered the answers for FASTSMS to get you started.

1. How much does it cost to send 1 SMS message?

FASTSMS is a credit based messaging system whereby 1 credit = a single 160 character SMS message.

Credits cost from as little as 2.1p each when bought in sufficient numbers (even less for very large quantities).

To send to a UK mobile will only ever cost 1 credit. (The exception being Linked Messages – where a message is over 160 characters in length)

However some landlines and mobile phones outside of the UK can cost more than 1 credit so check with us to be sure. We are constantly looking for new high quality routes to send messages to other countries and so reduce the cost to all users. Contact us for the latest available operators or visit our Network Coverage page.

FASTSMS will not be beat on price or service, which is why we offer to match or beat the pricing of any other provider, on an apples for apples, like for like basis.

2. Are there any hidden costs?

FASTSMS is the first fully professional Internet texting service with complete transparency of pricing.

Contrary to rival providers FASTSMS have…

  • NO monthly contracts
  • NO minimum purchases
  • NO charges for inbound messages
  • NO time limits on message credits
  • NO hidden charges
  • NO surprises

All FASTSMS solutions are free and readily available for everyone, including…

FASTSMS also provide free technical support and advice by phone, online chat and email for every level of user, regardless of usage or money spent. We are always working on ways to lower our prices without compromising on quality, but you can always see our latest pricing by visiting our Prices page.

3. Are there any minimum purchase requirements or monthly minimum usage requirements?

Our only minimum purchase is 100 credits at 3.5p/credit coming to just £3.50. (Although this price decreases rapidly with larger purchases)

If you would rather try before you buy we can also set you up a Free Demo with some credits to get you started. Unlike other providers there is at no point a minimum usage requirement – you only pay for what you use and you use as little or as much as you like, in your own time.

4. Will the purchased credits or SMS messages expire after a certain period?

Some providers will impose restrictions on when you must use your credits. FASTSMS credits have a limitless shelf life – they’re your credits and we would never take them off you!

5. How good is the SMS gateway provider’s network coverage?

FASTSMS only use the highest quality routes and can guarantee delivery of your message to more than 180 GSM providers in over 90 countries. Visit our Network Coverage page for a full list.

6. How good is the SMS gateway provider’s network quality?

The FASTSMS network is housed in 2 of the UK’s best data centres. We operate a cloud of application servers and database servers to ensure maximum speed and availability. Our engineers are constantly monitoring both network security and performance to ensure the system is always available.

FASTSMS only connects to the highest quality routes in the UK, with several direct binds to the UK operators to ensure maximum coverage, speed of delivery and reliability – this means you have the highest level of service with delivery routes that cannot be beaten.

Most messages sent through FASTSMS reach their destination within seconds and inbound messages are just as quick, regardless of which of our SMS solutions you use.

7. Is the protocol / interface you intend to use supported by the SMS gateway?

Sending via the API from within your application can be as simple as generating an HTTP request that contains the relevant variables and sending them to the FASTSMS gateway; this can be in the form of a HTTP POST or GET via your desired programming language.

The protocols that are supported by our API consist of:

  • HTTP
  • SMTP
  • XML

The FASTSMS API gateway has been implemented into many different business solutions including server monitoring & alert systems, contact management databases and many other advanced applications. If your application already supports email you can integrate SMS without the need for the API – using the Email to SMS service you can effortlessly add SMS functionality into any software that already supports SMTP.

8. Is the SMS gateway provider’s API well documented and easy to use? Is there any sample code provided?

FASTSMS provides comprehensive API documentation as well as sample code to anyone who requires it, free of charge.

Two documents that are particularly useful to developers is our NetMessenger API Documentation and our API Examples – Click here to learn more.

9. What payment options does the SMS gateway provider offer?

FASTSMS offer a wide range of payment options to cater for every level of customer. All major credit/debit cards are accepted through the secure online payment system or over the phone. You can request an order form and pay by cheque or bank transfer with the order. Alternatively potential users can contact FASTSMS to apply for credit and pay in a way that suits them. FASTSMS is designed to be freely accessible to every user, so you can choose a payment method that is right for you and your usage.

10. Is it easy to manage your account? Can you check the number of credits or SMS messages left in your account?

NetMessenger is the FASTSMS web based messaging interface – from here you can easily manage all aspects of your account.

You can set low credit reminders and top ‐up your account online.

By adding multiuser functionality you can create sub users and distribute credits accordingly. You can generate reports on general and individual usage as well as communicate with your sub users and directly with FASTSMS.

11. Does the SMS gateway provider provide any free SMS messages for testing?

You can sign up online or contact us on 0800 954 5305 for some free credits to get you started.

12. Does your SMS application require 2 way SMS messaging services?

All you need to enable two way messaging is a FASTSMS Virtual Mobile Number (VMN); this is free for a year when you purchase 5000 credits (otherwise £99/year).

A VMN can be used with all FASTSMS solutions; messages come direct to your inbox and can be forwarded to an email address or mobile phone.

13. How good is the SMS gateway provider’s support service?

The FASTSMS support service is free to everyone; we will do everything in our power to help our customers get the most out of their account.

FASTSMS provide support and advice by online chat, email and phone, dependent on the user’s preference.

FASTSMS also operate information resources such as a blog, FAQs section, monthly newsletters, user manuals and guides.

For more information:

Visit http://www.fastsms.co.uk/information/

Email helpdesk@fastsms.co.uk or

Call 0800 954 5305



  1. Thanks for the extensive advice – I have been looking to get into more about mobile/sms marketing and not sure whether to become an affiliate or reseller. Do you have a blog post on that already?
    The pros and cons of both to help someone decide.


  2. Oliver
    April 5th

    You can now find a detailed explanation of our Affiliate and Reseller programmes on our latest blog post, here: http://www.fastsms.co.uk/blog/2011/04/05/reseller-vs-affiliate/

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