Concatenation support importance is increasing. It is due to the popularity of rich text formats like iMessage and Rich Communication Services (RCS). SMS text message standards bridge them, but it’s the efforts of some aggregators and our diligence that is helping to improve the end-user experience by ensuring longer messages arrive in the right order. Consider many people take for granted when they tap out longer SMS text message and hit send, the message reaches its destination intact, as sent. Today, it’s easier than ever to communicate with clients and customers across the globe. From email to video chat, it only takes a moment to connect with anyone who owns a smart device. In this culture of constant accessibility, people forget all of the complicated work. Modern communication is so intuitive.

Seamless communication of lengthy SMS text messages can only be achieved with a behind-the-scenes mechanism called concatenation.

SMS messages have a limit to how much data they contain. Generally, a text message can deliver up to 1,120 bits of information. Every character in a Latinate language such as English, or Spanish uses 7 bits. Therefore, a single SMS message can contain up to 160 characters. Non-Latinate languages such as Chinese use 16 bits per character, limiting their length to 70 characters per message.

What Can Happen If Concatenation Is Not Supported?

Some SMS aggregators like Swift SMS Gateway support concatenation, managing relationships between wireless carriers and network peers. We build it into our services seamlessly. This means that if a message must be split, each chunk of a long message will arrive on the receiver’s device in order. Other aggregators may only partially support this feature. In some cases, a message may arrive, but its pieces will be out of order. This can confuse recipients and they may assume the message is corrupt. Rich Text formats such as iMessage and the alternative, Google’s RCS, rely on SMS aggregation standards to peer these two communication formats. Effectively, messaging sent between Androids and Apple iPhones will default to SMS to bridge these two message formats.

As Rich Text formats increase in popularity, it is likely message lengths will get longer still, so concatenation support will be even more important.

A device using concatenation adds instructions to each message. This designates the order that a text message should be assembled once received.

SMS text messaging contains two parts:

  1. The Data Header – Routing information such as which phone number sent the message and who will receive it.
  2. The Payload – The content of the message.

When a user inputs a long message, the device will separate it into sections and label each with a number that corresponds to its position in the overall message. Unfortunately, this introduces another complication: Remember that 1,120-bit limit per message? Concatenation instructions take up a little more room. This reduces how much information the payload can contain. End-users should never know the difference, making it appear seamless, but it complicates things for developers.

Ensure Your SMS Aggregator Supports Concatenation

SMS concatenation should be the standard for all text message aggregators like Swift SMS Gateway. Many aggregators and mobile marketers are still playing catch-up. Businesses can’t afford to worry about how their messages will look to each and every customer and client. That’s why Swift SMS Gateway takes care of all the behind-the-scenes development work for you. Our easy-to-use SMS API plans offer everything you’ll need in a text message service. We’ll take care of the technical details, so you can focus on growing your business.

Only with proper concatenation, can you be certain your SMS text messages will arrive as intended.

Rest assured your business’ text message communications support concatenation with your existing Swift SMS API plan. If you’re not using Swift SMS yet, try a free demo today of up to 50 messages.