SMS Short code and Mobile Content Providers

Short code refers to a set of special numbers which is particularly shorter than full telephone numbers. The codes are usually used to address sms or mms messages from mobile phones or fixed lines. These short codes are specially designed to be remembered by clients. Normally, short codes are applicable for value-added services such as TV programme voting, ringtones ordering and also mobile services.

Unlike standard SMS sent to typical mobile numbers, messages sent to short code numbers is slightly more expensive and sometimes, also imposed monthly bill to subscribers until they send in a ‘STOP’ message to the providers in order to terminate the services. Besides that, SMS short codes are associated with automated programme that handles the responses send-in by subscribers. Sender needs to send in a start message to trigger the programme with specific prefix before receiving a confirmed message.

Malaysian Telcos Shortcode Services

Short codes vary according to regional differences. In Malaysia, codes are five digits in length that begins with either 2 or 3 and priced from RM0.30. For those who would like to apply for short codes, numbers that begin with 32xxx is under Maxis’s administration, 36xxx by Digi and 39xxx by Celcom. Some may noticed certain short codes begin with 6xxxx as it is provided by sms gateway provider that holds no power to charging capability.

MCMC Rules and Guidelines

You need to learn policies and guidelines determined by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions (SKMM) before applying for short codes within the country. According to SKMM, there are several guidelines on provision of mobile content services (MCS) provided by MCS providers with Application Service Provider (ASP) Class licene issued by SKMM.

MCS refers to service that is provided to mobile customers via public cellular service provider that offers content in the form of data, music or ringtones, information, news, images or pictures and games. The purchase must be instigated by mobile customers. In short, customers must make the first move by typing in specific keywords such as ‘Go’ or ‘Join’ to short codes equipped with automated programme to begin the subscription service.

Rules Mobile Content Providers must adhere to

Subsequently, MCS provider must request for a confirmation of purchase from the customers before sending chargeable content or messages. In addition to that, MCS providers are required to notify mobile customers after each chargeable transaction. MCS providers offer different types of subscription services such as content-based or time-based.

In content-based subscription, the subscribers must agree to receive chargeable content on a regular basis and the subscriptions are not allowed to charge one-time or on a recurring basis subscription fee while time-based subscription offers subscriber preferential treatment that depends on the price paid for the content. Similar to content-based subscription, service is prohibited from imposing one-time or a recurring subscription fee.

Mobile subscription service guidelines

Take note on several guidelines when a mobile customer registers for Subscription Service – request for subscription services is either free or has an attached fee and expiry date must be provided for Time-Based subscription. Most importantly, the messages sent to subscribers must provide steps for terminating the services.

The messages offered to mobile customers must abide general obligations including confidentiality of information, record keeping (maintain transaction logs and database for at least 12 months), prohibited from indecent and obscene content and prohibition of masking of short code.

SMS Aggregator

Many are often confused with bulk SMS gateway and sms aggregator. SMS aggregator has connections and links to most carriers to deliver your messages across through their gateways. The gateways play an important role in transmitting the message across to your audience. Since carriers will not handle small chunk of SMS traffic, clients usually resort to using gateways that have been established by these aggregators. It is reported that aggregators are known for its slow delivery speed. This is largely due to lack of features.