Clickatell launches hassle-free variable cost SMS

Global messaging company (and site sponsor) Clickatell have today announced the launch of a mobile terminated (MT) premium rate SMS service in South Africa.

Currently offered by Vodacom and MTN in South Africa, mobile terminated services are used for subscription-based content. Because the networks offer these services in different ways, Clickatell provides an easy-to-use open interface for value-added service providers to access the networks and bill their customers. Uniquely, Clickatell pays out the full revenue share to its customers.

Good stuff, and useful if you’re wanting to enter the South African premium SMS market. Here’s two interesting things I noticed from the press release.

Firstly, the service offers variable billing – so a shortcode isn’t tied to a particular price point like it is in the UK. It’s up to the operators to support such a service, and fortunately both Vodacom and MTN do. Here in the UK a shortcode is fixed to a certain price – so if you wanted to run a service on a particular shortcode at a different price to the one it’s locked to, you’d have to send the reply from a different number. A complete arse when it comes to branding and can confuse consumers.

Second, Clickatell pay out the full revenue share they receive from the mobile operators. That’s a refreshing change – most PSMS service providers take their cut along the way, and have a habit of hiding the true income they’re making from your service. Given a choice between a company who are open with their payouts and one that surrounds it with smoke and mirrors, I’d chose the former.

2 replies on “Clickatell launches hassle-free variable cost SMS”

Sorry but I do not appreciate suggestions that companies that buys apples for 20p and sell them for 22p are hiding behind smoke and mirrors.

iTAGG (who like Clickatell offer bulk & premium sms services to businesses) make a small profit of a few pence on each message. I hold my head up high when I say that and don’t see anything wrong with commercial organisations making a reasonable profit in order to maintain their offering.

We bend over backwards to provide a good service to our many clients and ensure their shortcode/keyword service and bulk and premium sms delivery goes well. I do not see any problem in charging for that service and nor do our clients – our churn rate of clients is very low.

Like many of our fellow competitors we have built a strong infrastructure that needs supporting and maintaining. We do not charge management fees for access to our sms delivery system and so taking a small cut to make sure the service is running 24/7 works well for the many thousands of small business clients that use us day in day out.

If clickatell want to use their model then fine. But please do not presume to tell the world that anyone who makes a profit is evil.


I think what is being reported here is a clear payout policy on sign up – be it that you as the service provider take a cut or not.

How many text service providers put their payout sheet on their websites/provide to customers at the tendering stage?

I’m proud to say my PSMS Service Provider does – but does everyone?

It’s not a question of profit Steve, just clarity of what rates across all networks and invisibility of network payout fluctuations you’ll payout. Telling customers that “Virgin may be different” but not how different doesn’t give me fuzzy feeling when choosing where to aggregate.

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