Before Telerivet, it was too difficult and expensive to build SMS services to communicate with mobile phone users – especially in developing countries.
When we wanted to set up an SMS service for a non-profit organization in Tanzania, we tried existing software tools and SMS gateway services but couldn't get them to do what we needed. We explored buying a shortcode but found it far too expensive.
In the end, we decided to build a better solution ourselves, and created Telerivet so that anyone could create and deploy SMS services anywhere in the world faster, easier, and cheaper.
- Why not use another online SMS gateway?
- Why not download software to send SMS with a GSM modem?
- Why not get an SMS shortcode?
Why not use another online SMS gateway?
But most of these services only offer phone numbers in a few countries, typically in North America and Europe. To communicate with people in other countries, you would need to send international SMS, which is often unreliable. Also, your users would have to pay extra to send international SMS to you.
In contrast, Telerivet's Android-based SMS gateway can be deployed with a local phone number in any country, so you and your users can send SMS messages at inexpensive local rates. And if you happen to be in the U.S., U.K., or Canada, then Telerivet makes it easy to use Twilio to send and receive messages without an Android phone.
In addition, many online SMS gateway services are APIs (application programming interfaces) intended only for software developers. While Telerivet can be used as an API by software developers, it is also a complete SMS messaging solution that can be used by anyone, without needing any technical expertise.
Why not download software to send SMS with a GSM modem?
Downloadable software tools like FrontlineSMS and RapidSMS have proven popular among many non-profits in developing countries, and are indeed useful in some scenarios, especially because you can use them in remote areas where you don't have internet access.
But for many users, these tools often prove expensive, unreliable, and unmaintainable in practice.
Connecting a phone or GSM modem to your computer to send and receive SMS is typically the first challenge, with many incompatible modems/phones, broken device drivers, and confusing archaic settings like baud rate and COM port.
If you want to provide a SMS service 24/7, you'll need to dedicate a computer to it, make sure the software is always running and doesn't crash, and make sure the computer always has electricity – no easy task in many developing countries.
If you want to integrate with any external system, your computer will probably need reliable internet access. And if you want to access your computer from elsewhere, you may need to host it somewhere where it can have a public IP address.
By using an Android phone to send and receive SMS, Telerivet vastly simplifies the challenge and expense of running a SMS gateway. An Android phone is much less expensive than a computer and GSM modem, is much easier for non-technical people to maintain, is less prone to failure, and has built-in battery backup and redundant networking (Wi-Fi and mobile data) to stay operational in challenging environments.
Additionally, since the rest of Telerivet's service is in the "cloud", you can use Telerivet to send and receive SMS from any web browser, share access with other people in your organization, and easily integrate with other systems.
Learn more: Compare Telerivet and FrontlineSMS
Why not get an SMS shortcode?
In most countries, it is possible to purchase a SMS shortcode from a local mobile network or reseller.
However, SMS shortcodes are far too expensive for most small- and medium-sized businesses and organizations, with set-up and monthly fees of several hundred dollars or more. Also, it often takes months to negotiate a contract with the mobile network or reseller and get regulatory approval.
A variety of services, such as TxtWeb, offer shared SMS shortcodes, which allow multiple users to build services on top of the same shortcode and reserve different keywords for their applications.
For certain uses, shared shortcodes are often an economical option. However, shared shortcodes are limited by the fact that each incoming SMS message must begin with the user's unique keyword. Also, each shared shortcode service generally only works in one country, or a small number of countries.
Instead of shortcodes, Telerivet uses regular "longcode" mobile phone numbers, which make it possible to start your SMS service inexpensively without an expensive setup fee or monthly fee.
And if your SMS service becomes highly popular and an SMS shortcode becomes necessary or economical later on, then you can switch from a longcode to a shortcode while continuing to use Telerivet as before.