Automatic reply SMS system

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SMS & MMS Technical Forum » NowSMS Support - SMS Issues (Product Support Only) » Archive through March 09, 2004 » Automatic reply SMS system « Previous || Next »
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Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 05:02 pm:   

I want to set up a system that replies automatically to a sms. People have to pay to use the service. For exemple they send an sms containing code BAK1,
and the system returns a sms with the address of bakery 1 (information present in a database).
So the reply is content related.
What does it cost to set up such a system ?
What do a need ? Software, hardware, a deal with a mobile operator,......
Thanks a lot for introducing me to the world of sms services !!!
Bryce Norwood - NowSMS Support
Board Administrator
Username: Bryce

Post Number: 1900
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 06:32 pm:   


Well, the easy part of this is setting up the automatic reply part of the system. The hard part is charging for it. Well, it depends on who you want to charge.

So let's take the easy part first ...

With NowSMS, we call this type of application "2-way SMS" (i.e., sending and receiving). When NowSMS receives an SMS message, it can parse the message and it can then either run an executable command locally on the gateway, or it can connect to an HTTP script running on any web server.

The command or HTTP script can then return a response directly.

The basic approach for doing this is described here:

There are also some tricks for replying back with more complex messages described here:

Another good resource is the NowSMS API page: This page has a link to some PHP examples.

NowSMS is just middleware, so it manages the SMS connectivity. But we are not an SMS service provider, and not a replacement for an SMS service provider. So you need to configure NowSMS to actually connect to an SMS service provider to send and receive messages.

To get started, you could use a GSM modem (or GSM phone that has an inbuilt modem provided you have the appropriate cable or infrared or bluetooth connection to a PC running the Now SMS/MMS Gateway software) ... as NowSMS can also send and receive SMS messages via a GSM modem.

As you want people to pay for the service, that's where things get a little more complicated.

It's not so complicated if you are charging the business on whose behalf you are sending the auto reply ... in other words, if this is a marketing service, and you are hosting different keywords that return marketing pitches, you'd charge that company for each message you send out.

Where it gets more complicated is if you want to charge the mobile phone user who is sending the SMS to you.

Usually, when you talk about this type of service, you're talking about using "premium rate SMS". With "premium rate SMS", when you send out a message, you can request that the receiver is charged for receiving the message. The mobile operator charges the user on their phone bill, and you collect a percentage of that charge.

To send premium rate SMS, you need an account with an SMS service provider that can support premium rate in the countries that you want to offer your service.

You can generally go direct to the mobile operators and get this type of service from them. But the mobile operators tend to charge rather expensive setup fees to get started.

Then there are a lot of independent SMS service providers (aggregators) out there who act as middlemen. They buy service in bulk from the operators, so you can usually get setup with them for less up-front cost. Often, this means that you receive a smaller % of the revenue generated, but it depends on how good of a bulk deal these aggregators have with the operators.

I hope that helps.


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