How to set up SMS shortcodes

Short codes can be used for both marketing purposes and general business communications.

For example a short code could be set up to receive votes, competitions entries, to request information on your services, to promote offers and redemption vouchers or simply as a means for your clients to contact you.

There are two main ways which short codes are used for text marketing. Short codes can either be used on a chargeable (reverse billed) or non chargeable basis. The initial inbound text from the handset will cost the sender one standard network rate message but the return message determines whether there are any further charges to the mobile. If a return text is sent it can either be sent ‘free to receive’ where the cost of this message is borne by you or the return message can charge the mobile at an agreed premium tariff. The tariff is fixed at the outset when the service is registered with the networks.

We offer a number of on-line auto-responders details of which can be found here or you may want to develop your own applications using our web service.

Setting up a short code number:

Once you have set up an account with us, you will need to fill out a “New short code” application form which can be found on the TextPremium tab on your account. We are required by PhonepayPlus and OFCOM legislation to hold detailed information on the service you are providing so we would ask that you provide as much detail as you can on the form

Your service will need to comply with both PhonepayPlus regulations and TextAnywhere regulations

Please note that we do not support adult services, the form contains a question on this for you to indicate that your text messages will not contain adult material or be of an adult nature.

Key points of the form:

Shared or dedicated short code number: If you choose to use a shared short code, we will need to know the specific keyword, or keywords, you wish to use for your marketing campaigns. This is so that we can check and ensure you are the only organisation using them on the short code you are allocated to.  Keywords must be unique on a shared short code to ensure you only receive text message replies which start with your keyword. Dedicated short code numbers are able to use unlimited keywords. 

Message tariff: This is where you select whether you want the messages you send out to charge the recipient. You can select no-charge, or select from 6 further options to charge from 25p to £5. If you do wish to charge for your messages, you will need to have a PhonepayPlus registration ID.  

Phone-paid Services Authority are the UK’s regulator of premium rate SMS campaigns and signing up with them is a mandatory requirement before you can run any premium rate SMS service. You can complete the form without this ID, however your service will not be made live until we have received your Phone-paid Services Authority ID and a copy of the confirmation email you receive from them. In addition, we will also need to see a copy of your campaign or service’s terms and conditions web page together with your proposed advertising material. We are legally required to collect this information before we can put your service live.

For more information on Phone-paid Services Authority, or to register with them, please visit their site.

Competitions: If you are running a competition, you will need to provide details of what prize you will be offering and how the winner(s) will be notified.

Customer Care: You will need to fill in contact details for a customer service representative with whom your clients can contact about your campaign or service. You also need to provide details of your campaign or service’s terms and conditions, your customer refund policy and an example of the type of messages you will be sending to your clients. Please note that customer service helplines cannot be premium rate lines.

Promotional Material: Lastly you will need to fill in details on how you intend to promote your campaign or service. If you are running a premium rate service (charging your clients to receive responses) you may be required to forward electronic copies of your promotional material for approval by the network operators.

Once you have completed the form we may call you to confirm the details. It can take up to 48 hours to confirm your short code as we need to register your service with the network operators.

How are you charged?

Shared short codes are charged at a per-keyword rate, whereas dedicated short codes allow you to have an unlimited amount of keywords. There are two pricing areas, the setup fee and the monthly rental of your short code. You are not charged for the messages you send to your clients if you are using a reverse billed service as all costs are netted off the out-payment you receive. However, if it is a non-chargeable service and you elect to send “free to receive” responses to your clients, these would be charged to you at our standard messaging tariff.

Shared short codes with one keyword: £39 + vat monthly rental fee, £29 + vat set up fee

The minimum rental period for a shared short code is one month and thereafter one month’s cancellation notice required by email.

Dedicated short codes: £795 + vat monthly rental fee, £595 + vat set up fee

The minimum rental for a dedicated short code is three months and thereafter six weeks cancellation notice required by email. 

The setup fee is a one-off payment to register your keyword on a short code with UK network operators. We also offer discounts on the above fees to various organisations such as charities, academic organisations, the emergency services, the armed forces, the NHS including hospitals and surgeries, and to housing associations.

For more information on using TextPremium or for help filling in the form and setting up your short code, please contact a member of our Customer Service team on 08451 221 302 who will be happy to help.

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