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SMS character limit

What is SMS character limit?

SMS messaging is a common way to communicate using mobile phones.  Unlike newer chat and texting technologies, SMS messages have much smaller character limits. The standard character limit for a single SMS message is 160 characters, or 80 characters when using Unicode characters like some Chinese or Japanese characters.  If the message is longer than the limit, it will be split into multiple messages and the recipient will see them as separate messages on their mobile phone.

What length can an SMS with Unicode be?

An SMS message with Unicode characters can have a maximum length of 70 characters per message. This is because Unicode characters use a 16-bit encoding, which requires more data to represent each character than the 7-bit encoding used by standard SMS messages. 

As a result, when sending SMS messages with Unicode characters, the maximum character count per message is reduced from 160 characters to 70 characters. If you need to send a longer message, it will be split into multiple messages, which may be charged as separate messages by your communications provider. 

It’s worth noting that some mobile carriers and devices may support concatenation for Unicode SMS messages, allowing multiple messages to be joined together into a single longer message. However, this is not a universal feature and may depend on the specific carrier and device settings. 

What happens if you send a text over 160 characters?

  • Sending a text message over 160 characters will result in it being split into multiple SMS messages. 
  • Each message will have a maximum length of 160 characters and will be sent separately as individual SMS messages. 
  • The recipient’s mobile device will receive the separate messages as individual SMS messages and display them as a single message in the messaging app.
  • Some older or less advanced mobile devices may not support concatenation, in which case the messages may be displayed separately. 

How can I send over 160 characters by text?

One way to send 160 characters by test is to use SMS concatenation, which allows multiple SMS messages to be joined together into a single longer message. However, not all mobile carriers or devices support this feature. 

Another option is to use messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, which allow you to send longer messages without being limited by the standard SMS character limit. These apps use data connections to send messages, which allows for longer messages to be sent without being split into multiple messages. 

Alternatively, some mobile carriers provide an email-to-SMS gateway that allows you to send longer messages by sending an email to a specific email address. The email is then automatically converted into an SMS message and sent to the recipient’s mobile device. 

How does Telesign help with messages over 160 characters?

Telesign offers “smart splitting” to ensure that messages are not split in the middle of important values such as URLs and email addresses. This improves users’ click-through and conversion rates. To try using Telesign’s SMS services for free, sign up at