Why Some GSM Operators Do Not Allow Numbers As Sender IDs

  19 June 2015

Probably, you have tried sending a bulk SMS using your phone number as the sender ID before and the message did not get to the recipient(s), or the message got to the receiver but the sender ID delivered with an omission of some of the digits in the phone numbers. Here are some of the reasons why sending SMS with phone numbers as the sender ID is discouraged.

GSM operators filtering system to check SMS impersonation: Over the years, some users of bulk SMS service have been using the service for SMS impersonation, in that these ones send SMS with the phone number of someone else as the sender ID. As such, the recipient of the message receives it as coming from the owner of the phone number appearing as sender ID. Because of this, many GSM operators, MTN NG especially, has put up a filtering system that checks sender IDs appearing as phone numbers. That explains why in many cases, the message delivers with some of the digits in the phone numbers not revealed. For example, a message with the sender ID 08035515868 delivers as 0803xxxxxxx.

Phone number containing a combination of numbers used by registered organizations: Many firms, financial institutions, network operators, and even some private establishments have special numbers registered as sender IDs for their organizations. These groups have a portal they use to send their customized bulk SMS. Therefore, if the phone number you are using as sender ID has a combination of those numbers, it might not get delivered to your desired recipients. For instance, MTN NG uses the number ‘777’ to send some of her bulk SMS. If by chance your phone number contains that combination in it, and you use that as a sender ID, the message might not get delivered to the recipient, as the GSM providers’ filtering system will tag it as spam message.

While it is true that in some cases, most GSM operators allow phone numbers as sender ID, some though, MTN NG especially, do not allow numbers less than 5 digits to get delivered as sender ID for messages. And the reason for this is mentioned above, as most of the numbers specially customized for these Operators are in 5 digits or less.

It should be noted though that the GSM providers update this filter from time to time, and some numbers may be removed and new ones added often. The GSM operators equally have a list of spam related words not allowed in message content and spam related combination of word not allowed as sender ID.

If you have been using phone numbers as sender ID for your messages before now, you could try using a non-numeric sender ID. This might also help the recipients of your bulk SMS to identify you as the sender with ease.

Have you had an experience while sending bulk SMS with phone number as sender ID? Share it with us in the comment box below.

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