Are SMS message fees killing you?

SMS marketing is one of the most effective means to communicate with customers. But it comes with costs.

The cost of sending SMS messages has risen in the past few years due to carriers charging surcharges that are passed to marketers.  Here is a breakdown of the fees and tips on how you can save some associated costs: 

  1. Basic message fees – this is the starting point where you will get charged for every message sent 
  2. Carrier surcharges – on top of basic msg fees, carriers are charging surcharges for every message being pass to their network:
    1. AT&T $0.003 
    2. T-Mobile $0.003
    3. Verizon $0.003
    4. US Cellular $0.0035
    5. Bell $0.0074
  3. Other hidden fees that are not so obvious
    1. Incoming message fees – some carriers charge for incoming traffic where users are replying to the messages you send 
    2. Message failures – when you send a message delivery request to carriers, they will charge you even if the message was not delivered. This failure rate could be between 8~18% of the total messages you are trying to deliver. These are some reasons for such a high failure rate:
      1. Non-mobile numbers that are not reachable 
      2. deactivated/suspended numbers that will never get delivered. There are 500,000 of them in the US a day. 
      3. A prepaid cell phone that ran out of credits 
      4. Other reasons, such as some MVNOs which don’t allow shortcode traffic to go through their network. 

Are there ways to save message delivery costs? We are seeing most of the marketers run against mobile number verification tools that remove landlines, fax numbers, VoIP numbers, etc. 

If you have a large number of data being used to send messages especially to the same numbers multiple times a month, removing “deactivated” numbers can save you a lot more than you think. Deactivated number rates can be 1.2%~3.5% of your new numbers and even more for your legacy numbers. When you compound 1.5 or 2% each day and also send to the same numbers multiple times a month, a potential saving can be 5~15% of the cost of your monthly message fees. 

Also, aggressively identifying the users who do not want to receive future messages will save you money and also less complaints. Review reply messages coming in and remove obvious replies such as “this is not Bob…, who gave you permission to contact me?, go to hell, etc.,” and remove them. 

If you need an effective mobile number verification tool that filters deactivated numbers, please come to and check out the many features.

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