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Old 05-15-2006, 02:17 AM   #1
LoisWakeman
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Default Text msg service via web

Hi all,

I've been asked by a client to find out something about an SMS type service: I have no experience at all of such beasts so don't even know if he's provided enough info for starters! Pointers to any sources of info would be welcome: and of course I'll do my best to plug you as candidates if it goes on to a real project.

"I have been asked to consult to a small group who are planning a text based service offering and they have asked me who they should speak to, to get some outline costs/ info etc on the following:-

  • The likely hosting costs for 200Gb of space and a traffic rate of 10 texts per minute
  • Ideas of the average traffic size for text based information services"
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Old 05-15-2006, 04:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoisWakeman
I've been asked by a client to find out something about an SMS type service: I have no experience at all of such beasts so don't even know if he's provided enough info for starters! Pointers to any sources of info would be welcome: and of course I'll do my best to plug you as candidates if it goes on to a real project.

"I have been asked to consult to a small group who are planning a text based service offering and they have asked me who they should speak to, to get some outline costs/ info etc on the following:-

  • The likely hosting costs for 200Gb of space and a traffic rate of 10 texts per minute
  • Ideas of the average traffic size for text based information services"
Not enough information: where does the web come in, for starters?

An SMS-type service can mean any number of things:
  • Subscribers receive SMS messages (maybe based on predefined criteria) friom the service they've signed up for, and either pay nothing (not likely), a fixed (monthly) rate, or per message (depending on type of service); they might sign up for the service via the web, giving their mobile number
  • Users ask for a one-off signal via SMS based on some event (say train they plan to take is delayed); they pay for the single message IF it is sent; they might sign up via the web, for instance immediately after finding out the train schedule
  • Subscribers are able to send an SMS to any mobile number and pay per message; they use the web to provide text message and receiver mobile number
  • Other things that I haven't thought of

The model of SMS services in Europe is very different from that in the US:
In the US the receiver pays (as well as the sender), but mostly providers accept ordinary email targeted at a mobile number, so sending a message from the web would not cost anything (apart from running cost for the server and bandwidth); there are thus several services that allow free sending of text messages (they may recoup running costs via ads or selling extra services).
In Europe, firstly the receiver never pays for a message, and secondly providers do not accept email messages for a phone number; the result is that there are no free "send a text message from the web" services here (those that seem free tend to work with "credits" which you must earn, for instance by receiving advertizing emails or visiting certain websites).

There may be variants, of course, but in a nutshell that's the difference in business models - imposed by how mobile phone providers (and their networks and technology) work.

I recently looked into this a bit when some people were adding a "send a text message" component to a configurable toolbar; that seemed like a nice idea, and would work in the US (and Canada, I believe) but it's a dud in Europe...; and because European providers do not accept email for mobile numbers, you cannot send from the US to a European number either.

   
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Old 05-15-2006, 05:27 AM   #3
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I had a similar approach a few weeks ago. I just referred them to sms4mail as it is not something I want to get involved in!

There has been considerable growth in the text message market, with such things as share prices, cricket scores, job vacancies, just a few examples where there are subscription SMS services. Spam SMS adverts looks likely to be the next growth area...........

   
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Old 05-15-2006, 07:01 AM   #4
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I wonder if they are trying to do something similar to Google-SMS where you text the search term to 46645 ("GOOGL") and get the definition back as a text message?

In the current coke game you text the cap prize code to 2653 ("COKE").
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:09 AM   #5
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Marjolein - thanks for your usual masterly analysis (this is, I imagine, based in the UK). I will pass it back and see if they say anything more! And also Kelvyn for the tip about a ready made solution.
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvyn
I had a similar approach a few weeks ago. I just referred them to sms4mail as it is not something I want to get involved in!
Had a quick look at their website and noticed (apart from the fact that payments seem to be Paypal only) that their English had a bit of an "accent"; so I did a whois and found the domain is owned by a Taiwanese company:

Registrant:
Sparkle Inc.
13F,2,Sec 1, Fu Hsing S. Rd.
Taipei, Taiwan 105
TW

Interesting...

   
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoisWakeman
And also Kelvyn for the tip about a ready made solution.
Here is another! A UK company called iTAGG which was set up by Steve Proctor (who started up Easlily.co.uk). I did have some tags registered with them (they were free to Easily customers), but never used them, as I did not have the time! Sound familiar??

   
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:25 AM   #8
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All my friends use a Blackberry.

But thinking about it - daughter runs her whole life with the local mums using TXT so I guess I should get more involved.

   
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:35 AM   #9
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I use them too: in pies. But I prefer gooseberries (Terry Pratchett, anyone?)

I've just switched from a fixed price mobile contract to one where all calls are costed. So, my SMS skills will improve as texts are much cheaper, and anyway, whenever I ring my daughter she seems to be in a pub or other noisy place and we can't talk anyway.
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