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Apr 05, 2017
5 minutes read

Sending International SMS - Country-Specific Rules

SMS is an effective way to instantly reach people all over the world but is comes with a wide range of national habits, restrictions and options. Our international colleagues explain what (not) to do if you want to target consumers in their region. Here is their advice for international SMS.

Sending International SMS to The Netherlands

  •  In the Netherlands, both dynamic and alphanumeric Sender IDs are allowed.
  • Also, short codes and long numbers are allowed once you’ve registered your service.
  • When it comes to international SMS content restrictions, the Netherlands only prohibits abuse, meaning spam or phishing messages.
  • 06-numbers (standard mobile numbers) may only be used for person-to-person messaging. Unlike some other countries, in the Netherlands, you now will need an 097-number to enable two-way messaging between applications and people (A2A, A2P & P2A). CM.com can provide you with a number.

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Sending International SMS to Belgium

  • In Belgium, it is mandatory to use a short code that is a 100% free for the end-user. Free short codes always start with 8xxx, for example, 8850. Dynamic (alpha/numeric) Sender ID’s are not allowed.
  • Before sending an SMS campaign, a consumer opt-in is mandatory. This can be done via SMS, but also Voice, websites et cetera.
  • The Belgian Blacklist Mechanism requires companies to handle immediately process STOP’ opt-out messages sent by consumers.
  • Though there is no regulation on sociable hours, marketing campaigns are advised to be sent between 7 AM and 7 PM on weekdays.

SMS in Germany

  • Unlike many other countries, Germany allows both alpha- and numeric Sender IDs.
  • Though many countries require registration of the sender, in Germany this sender pre-registration is not necessary.
  • Messages in German are deemed to be more trustworthy than those in English, so it might be worth having your campaigns correctly translated.
  • Personalization is not just a matter of making the message more appealing, but of security as well. By personalizing, the more cautious German can be sure the sender knows him and the message isn't spamming.

SMS in The United Kingdom

  • Dynamic numeric and dynamic alphanumeric senders are allowed when sending international SMS, as well as short code senders. 
  • Spaces in the sender ID are deleted by the operators, so be creative when your company name has a space. Maybe use Capital Letters to distinguish the words.
  • Time-sensitive campaigns work very well in the UK. “Offer ends tonight!” with a call to action such as a lead to a website (URL tracking) and/or a phone number.
  • In the UK, you must abide by the general restrictions to prevent abuse (spam, phishing et cetera).

SMS in France

  • When sending international SMS to France, translating to French is essential. French people don’t like to receive messages in English or any other language for that matter.
  • Marketing messages in France are not allowed to be sent between 20:30 and 08:00 GMT+1, on Sundays, or on public holidays.
  • All marketing messages must allow recipients to unsubscribe by sending STOP to a given number in order to opt-out, by mentioning this number in the message.
  • French operators do not allow numeric Sender IDs for sending SMS.

SMS in APAC

  • In China, international SMS marketing messages are not allowed for gambling, property, immigration, adult-related content, and education. Also, each message sent needs to include the opt-out option.
  • In India, marketing messages may only be sent between 9 AM and 9 PM.
  • In Hong Kong and Singapore, is it strictly forbidden to send messages to consumers that are registered on the Do-Not-Disturb list.
  • In Singapore, messages for money loans are forbidden. In Malaysia, it is not allowed to send messages for gambling and casinos.

SMS in South-Africa

  • In South Africa, the Sender ID is always overwritten with a random national long code, therefore it is not possible to choose your own Sender ID.
  • All the MNOs in South Africa outsource their regulatory duties to an independent body called WASPA. If you are targeting South Africa, it is advised to give the code of conduct on content and message types a read. This code of conduct states, for example, the following: “Unless a customer has expressly or implicitly requested or agreed otherwise, a member may not engage in any direct marketing directed to a consumer on Sundays, public holidays, Saturdays before 09:00 and after 13:00 and all other days between the hours of 20:00 and 08:00 the following day.
  • Also, promotional competitions may not contain words such as “win” or “prize” to describe items intended to be offered to all or a substantial majority of the participants; exaggerate the chance of winning a prize, or suggest that winning a prize is a certainty. Finally, it is prohibited to suggest that the party has already won a prize and that by contacting the promoter of the competition, the entrant will have definitely secured that prize.
  • Shared and Dedicated standard-rate short codes are available in South Africa when sending international SMS. The short code cannot be used as the Sender ID of a message.

The points mentioned above on international SMS, are just a selection of the tips and advice we can give to send out successful marketing campaigns to consumers all over the world. Of course, our (inter)national colleagues are more than happy to tell you more.

Contact our international offices for more information on our SMS Gateway

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