How to Send SMS Messages from a Computer?
Monday, June 11, 2007
In general, there are two ways to send SMS messages from a computer / PC to a mobile phone:
1. Connect a mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem to a computer Then use the computer / PC and AT commands to instruct the mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem to send SMS messages.
The SMS specification has defined a way for a computer to send SMS messages through a mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem. A GSM/GPRS modem is a wireless modem that works with GSM/GPRS wireless networks.
To send SMS messages, first place a valid SIM card from a wireless carrier into a mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem, which is then connected to a computer. There are several ways to connect a mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem to a computer. For example, they can be connected through a serial cable, a USB cable, a Bluetooth link or an infrared link. The actual way to use depends on the capability of the mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem. For example, if a mobile phone does not support Bluetooth, it cannot connect to the computer through a Bluetooth link.
After connecting a mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem to a computer, you can control the mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem by sending instructions to it. The instructions used for controlling the mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem are called AT commands. (AT commands are also used to control dial-up modems for wired telephone system.) Dial-up modems, mobile phones and GSM/GPRS modems support a common set of standard AT commands. In addition to this common set of standard AT commands, mobile phones and GSM/GPRS modems support an extended set of AT commands. One use of the extended AT commands is to control the sending and receiving of SMS messages.
Using a mobile phone or GSM/GPRS modem to send SMS messages has a major drawback that is the SMS sending rate is too low. Only 6-10 SMS messages can be sent per minute (when the “SMS over GSM” mode is used).
2. Connect the computer / PC to the SMS center (SMSC) or SMS gateway of a wireless carrier or SMS service provider. Then send SMS messages using a protocol / interface supported by the SMSC or SMS gateway.
If you need a high SMS sending rate, obtaining a direct connection to the SMS center (SMSC) or SMS gateway of a wireless carrier is necessary. The connection may be made through the Internet, X.25 or dial-up. If you cannot get a direct connection to the SMSC or SMS gateway of a wireless carrier, another choice is to get a connection to the SMS gateway of an SMS service provider, which will forward SMS messages towards a suitable SMSC.
It can be difficult for small businesses or individual application developers to obtain a direct connection to the SMSC or SMS gateway of a wireless carrier since a wireless carrier may only provide such service to those who have huge SMS traffic. Buying SMS messages in bulk means the total fee will be very high (although the fee per SMS message will be low).
A more convenient way to send SMS messages is to use the SMS connectivity service of an SMS service provider. SMS service providers are also known as SMS gateway providers, SMS resellers and SMS brokers because of the following reasons:
SMS gateway providers – An SMS service provider provides an SMS gateway for its users to send SMS messages to. This SMS gateway will then route the SMS messages to another SMS gateway or SMSC.
SMS resellers and SMS brokers — SMS service providers buy a large amount of SMS messages from a lot of wireless carriers at a low price per SMS message. They then sell the SMS messages at a price higher than the cost.
It is easy to send SMS messages with an SMS service provider. Here are the typical steps:
1. Register for an account on the SMS service provider’s web site. (An SMS service provider may allow newly registered users to send a few free SMS messages for testing its service quality.)
2. Log into the account.
3. Buy a number of credits or SMS text messages online. Many SMS service providers support credit card payment and some also support PayPal.
4. Send SMS messages using a protocol / interface (e.g. HTTP, email, FTP) supported by the SMS service provider.
SMS service providers can be divided into two categories depending on how they require you to pay for their SMS messaging service:
* Credit-based — You purchase a number of credits from the SMS service provider’s web site. Sending one SMS message will cost you one or more credits, depending on the country you send the SMS message to. For example, sending an SMS text message to India may cost you one credit while sending an SMS text message to the US may cost you two credits.
* SMS-based — You purchase a number of SMS messages from the SMS service provider’s web site. The cost per SMS message is the same for all destinations. For example, if you purchase ten SMS messages, you can send at most ten SMS messages no matter the destination is India or the US.
The cost per SMS message sent depends on which SMS service provider you choose and how many SMS messages you purchase.
SMS gateways of SMS service providers and wireless carriers very often support one or more of the following protocols / interfaces: HTTP, HTTPS (HTTP + SSL encryption), XML over HTTP / HTTPS, SMTP (email to SMS), FTP. Some also support the SMPP protocol, which is usually used by advanced users. SMSC protocols other than SMPP are not commonly supported.
After receiving your HTTP request, the SMS gateway will forward your SMS text message towards the recipient. The SMS gateway will then send back an HTTP response that contains a return value. The return value indicates whether there is any error. For example, a certain SMS gateway may use the return value 0 to indicate that there is no error, the return value 1 to indicate the error “The account does not have enough credits”, the return value 2 to indicate the error “The SMS message is too long”, etc.
- At 6:05 AM, The Payment Processing Expert said...
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