Mobile SMS FAQs

All your basic questions answered

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about the Textlocal service, the chances are you will find it here. We have put these Frequently Asked Questions together with great attention to detail, covering every aspect of Textlocal. If you don't find the answer, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help.


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General Questions

What is SMS?

SMS stands for Short Message Service, and refers to the sending of short text messages from one device to another; in most cases from one mobile phone to another. The size of an SMS text message is restricted to 160 characters.

What is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. MMS is an expansion of the SMS format that is able to send larger quantities of information per individual message. In practical terms, this means that there are no character restrictions on MMS messages, and also that a variety of multimedia content types; including video, images and audio, can be sent using MMS.

What is an SMS gateway?

An SMS gateway is the means through which a computer can send or receive SMS messages. Often allowing for the conversion and sending of other forms of media or message (such as email), SMS gateways will generally utilise the same mobile phone networks as the messages sent from mobile phones.

Are there any contracts or commitments with Messenger?

There are no contracts involved in running a Messenger account - it all works on a pay as you go basis, so you can send text messages with no hassle. If you purchase any inbound systems they have a minimum term of one month which is renewable.

Do I need a mobile phone?

You do not need a mobile phone; messages are sent and received from Messenger. It is all web based so you do not need to download anything. All you need is an internet enabled PC, Mac or Tablet.

How can I send and receive SMS messages online?

It's essentially the same process that you would go through when sending a standard SMS message on your phone, only on your computer. With a Textlocal Messenger account for you or your business, it's as simple as typing in your message, selecting the number you wish it to be sent to, and pressing send. Job done.

How much does it cost to send a message?

The cost depends on how many credits you want to buy; one credit equals one text message to one United Kingdom phone and the credits last indefinitely. The cost of our credit bundles can be found on our prices page.

Does Textlocal provide data?

We do not provide data, however we do offer a short code which is extremely effective in collecting opt-in numbers and opt ins from your customers and can be used alongside any text marketing activity.

Who can use Textlocal services?

Any UK business, society or community group can use Textlocal to reach out to customers, staff or friends with SMS, instantly connecting to people where ever they are. With different levels of service, there's something to suit an organisation regardless of size. Textlocal offers unbeatable prices, with packages starting from £5 for 100 messages, there's also excellent support with passionate experts here to help.

Can I send messages outside the United Kingdom?

Yes, you can send text messages internationally. Each message sent will use up a certain amount of credits depending on the country it is being sent to. Mobile marketing does not operate in North America due to a different billing system used there. See our International Prices for a full list of which countries you can send to, the networks they use and the amount of credits the message will use.

Can people text my Short Code or Dedicated Inbound Number from abroad?

Any phone registered on a United Kingdom Network can send a text to a United Kingdom Short Code whether in the United Kingdom or abroad at the time. Our Dedicated Inbound Numbers are on UK or Irish Networks and can receive texts from anywhere. The cost to the sender will be their standard network rate for texting a UK/Irish Network.

Can I charge people to text my short code?

Whilst we offer most SMS marketing services, unfortunately we do not offer Premium Rate services.

Can people opt-out of my SMS Marketing?

Yes, people can opt out of your text marketing by texting your free keyword followed by the word STOP to your shared inbound number that we give you, or simply the word STOP to a Dedicated Inbound Number. When using a keyword on our shared short code 60777 you can simply instruct people to text the word stop after the keyword at no additional cost. If you do not require an inbound system, then we can provide you with a specialised opt-out short code for £50 a year or you can use the free, randomly generated keyword on 60777 that is given to you when you open the account.

When one of your users chooses to opt-out of your SMS marketing, their phone number will be automatically removed from all your contact lists and added to your opt-out list. This opt-out list can be exported for further use. The SMS Gateway will block any messages being sent to this number from your account again until the sender chooses to opt back in. If you upload the number to your contact manager again the system will remove this for you.

How secure is my data?

Your data is completely safe. Textlocal do not share or pass on any of your data, including the mobile numbers you upload. Your data will only be used for your SMS marketing. For further information see our SLA. Textlocal provide a secure 128bit encrypted service which is equivalent to online banking security.

How many characters in a message?

One SMS credit will use up 160 characters, 161 characters will use two credits and so on. It states clearly when typing your message how many characters you have used and how many credits your text will use up so you can edit this accordingly.

How can I check if a message has been sent?

The reports section of your Messenger shows if a message has been delivered or undelivered, if it's pending or if the number was invalid.

Will my credits expire?

Your credits will never expire.

How long does the service take to set up?

Your SMS marketing campaigns can be up and running within minutes.

Can I import data into my Messenger?

You can import mobile numbers from an excel sheet or a CSV file. You can upload your mobile numbers along with five fields of information with just a few clicks of a button. You can also enter your numbers individually or by copy and pasting if you have smaller volumes.

Why are my messages using up two credits?

A message will use over one credit if you do either of the following:

  • you are using over 160 characters per message.
  • you have opted to use the simple reply service which uses 1.5 credits per message.
  • you have merged data into your message which is increasing the characters.
  • you have sent to international numbers which can use up to 2.9 credits per message see international pricing for a full list.

Why do numbers look like 4.47741E+12 when I export to Excel?

This is because Excel thinks your mobile number is a long number so has converted it into scientific notation. To fix this click on the column header, click Format Cells->As Number->0 decimal places.

Can I merge data into my messages?

Yes, you can merge data into your messages by inputting the information into your excel spread sheet. Once you have uploaded the file you can make sure each column heading is relevant to the information stored in each column.

How long do messages stay in my inbox for?

Messages will stay in your Messenger permanently. You can easily export these to an excel file for your own records.

Can the sender name be my business name, rather than a number?

Yes it can, as long as it is 11 characters or less. Sender names are a great way to enhance awareness. You can create as many sender names as you wish, at no extra cost. The sender name could also be a mobile number or a Virtual Inbound Number that we can provide.

Why can't I receive replies when using a sender name?

By using a sender name you are overriding the number the message comes from. This means that the receiving phone cannot decipher where the message has originated in order to send a reply.

Can I schedule messages to be sent at a later date?

Yes, it's easy to queue text messages for delivery. Choose to schedule them to be sent only after specific times and dates. You can also set an end date for your message to expire, to prevent it being sent out after a specified date. Staggering messages is also possible; to allow time to handle responses instead of being overwhelmed by many all in one go. If you need to change the time and date the send is scheduled for you can do so via the reports section of Messenger.

When was Textlocal established?

Textlocal was established in 2005 by Alastair Shortland and Darren Daws. Al and Darren still play an active and passionate role in the SMS business to this day and have enjoyed continued success and achievement.

What business sectors can benefit from mobile marketing

SMS is the universal tool. Whether being used purely for sales and marketing or for transactional alerts, SMS can and will fit into any application and sector.

Does the size of the business affect the success of SMS

No, smaller campaigns work as well as the larger campaigns, as long as you have an opt-in database of your contacts and you send relevant messaging to them.

How can local businesses get greater benefits from text marketing

Local businesses can benefit from being able to instantly communicate to hundreds or thousands of people the latest offers & promotions, delivered in 5 seconds and read by 95% in 5 minutes.

How can I send free MMS messages?

When you start an account with us, you are given two free MMS credits with which to try out our service, as well as 10 free SMS messages. Simply log-in to your Textlocal Messenger account, and start sending today!

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