Getting Smart About the Phone Numbers You Are Reaching

Did you know, having some intelligence about the phone number — even just the phone type —can dramatically improve deliverability of your mission-critical SMS messages? In this post, we explore pitfall #7  -- Not knowing anything about the phone number you're reaching.  

Auto-Correct: When users enter their phone number in a form, it is not always properly formatted for delivery in international markets. Phone numbers often have to be auto-formatted to add or remove leading digits in the phone number depending on the country, city, and message type (SMS vs. voice). Auto-correcting phone numbers can improve SMS deliverability by more than 10% in most markets. It takes some telco expertise, including a working knowledge of the ever-changing international policies and dialing codes, to dynamically auto-correct phone numbers.

SMS-Enabled Phones: If you are sending SMS messages to a landline or non- SMS-enabled phone, the SMS will simply not get there. Identifying the phone's subscription or device status identifies whether the phone is disconnected or reachable, and can also improve initial deliverability and reduce the number of message retries.

Porting and Other Roadblocks: It can be hard to correctly route an SMS to a user who has ported their number from another operator. SMS is not always supported on ported numbers, nongeographic numbers and international numbers. Additionally, it is important to identify VoIP phones since they can't receive SMS messages from short codes.

Phone number attributes play an important role in establishing a user's online identity and mitigating online fraud. These attributes are increasingly being used as part of a risk-based authentication approach to identify high-risk phone numbers. Unfortunately, most generic API services don't provide any data about the phone type or autocorrect the phone number, which can collectively have a big impact on message deliverability.

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