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SMS providers & aggregators: Is it time for a code of practice?

Check out Julian’s post here…

Link: Julian Hucker: Business SMS: Is it time for a Code of Practice?

Our focus at Esendex is primarily on Business SMS services and one of the things that we’ve been considering is whether the industry is ready for a Code of Practice.

ICSTIS’s remit is obviously premium rate services and most other regulation is restricted to marketing activity.

Whilst it goes without saying that Spam is unacceptable, there are many areas that are not specifically covered by these guidelines, such as:

– Recommended / permitted times for sending a Business SMS message (my own bank’s daily SMS bank balance is sent out at about 6.15am each day)
– Recommendations on the frequency of messages
– Information on the sender

Is this an area that any other SMS providers / aggregators have a view on?

So I’m not an aggregator nor am I an SMS provider, but I have a view on this. I think a code of practice could be useful.

What idiot bank sends text messages at 0615 in the morning? That’s bordering on the offensive!


  1. There is no technical way to tell the the operator “please deliver this message during these specific times and do not deliver between these times, etc”. And the entire delivery retry mechanism is out of the dark ages.

    So we can have all the codes of practices we like but until the operators sit down and say “ok text industry, what features do we need to add to texting to make things work better” then frankly it’s all a waste of time.

    But other than that I am in favour of an industry led CoP; but whoever organises it must make it a powerful enough lobby that the operators will get involved, support it, and as I say above feedback into their roadmap things that the CoP members ask for. So in a way it would be as much an industry group with some balls rather than just another set of rules.


  2. In terms of message delivery, there’ll always be a case of being at the mercy of the network operator whose responsibility it is to deliver the SMS to the destination handset. If they delay then there’s not a lot that can be done. In terms of delivering banking alerts at 6am, this is either very poor logisitcs by the bank (in terms of thinking folks want this info at this time), or the routing that is being used is not good enough. If you’re with the ‘not on the high street’ bank that is well known for sending SMS as part of their offering, they use a one network routing strategy and as such they will almost certainly be rate limited when sending, and as such they likely push out over a period of time.

    A good provider will use the best routes and smart route across multiple networks such that when you hit send with your business SMS, it get’s to the handset within several seconds.

    Have you noticed that with 118118 the SMS will tend to arrive before the call has even finished?

  3. I agree that the networks are the key participants in any body. And I’m in 2 minds about what to do next:

    I vacillate between committing time to try to get a consensus view together and doing something positive, and thinking there’s no point because without the networks it’s worthless.

    So, as we start Q2, it’s time for a mini-resolution:

    If we could get a few people together (conference call, pub, office, dont really mind) in say 2-3 weeks time we could draft an open letter and send to all and sundry.

    Pretty new to the world of blogging but I’ll create a new post on my to see who’s interested

  4. I work with Julian, but will be unable to attend the first get together so I thought it would worth publishing my thoughts before hand.

    I think the key to getting something like this adopted is to just start and get to first draft as soon as possible. Trying to involve too many people in the first drafts is a recipe of the whole processing grinding to a halt and just slowing dowm. Someone also needs to take the lead, which Julian has agreed to.

    Once at first draft then I think it should be pushed out to as many people as possible for comments. In the UK this should include the Mobile Data Association. The mobile operators should also be approached but I don’t believe their involvement is necessary for publication of the code.

    Once the first release has been published, then it’s the responsibility of us in the mobile industry to get our clients to adopt this code and get them to promote their adoption to their user base.

    Then we hope enough steam has been gathered and it’s all been worthwhile ;).

    The areas I’d like to see considered are:

    Timing of messages
    Frequency of messages
    Cost of messages
    Validity period of messages
    Unsubscribing from services, if appropriate
    Monitoring of message content

    This ended up being a bit longer than I anticpated so I have continued this on my blog:


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