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SMS Glossary


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smsc short message service centreSMSC (Short Message Service Centre)


A Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) is a network element in the mobile telephone network which delivers SMS messages. It is responsible for handling the SMS operations of a wireless network. When you send a text message from your phone it connects to your host network and from there on to the recipient’s network. A value added service like Fastsms emulates the same process.


When an SMS message is sent from a mobile phone, it will reach an SMSC first. This then forwards the SMS message towards the destination. An SMS message may need to pass through more than one network entity (e.g., SMSC and SMS gateway) before reaching the destination. This is particularly true for international messaging as routing between UK operators and those overseas can be complex.


The main duty of an SMSC is to route SMS messages and regulate the process. If the recipient is unavailable (for example, when the mobile phone is switched off or out of range), the SMSC will store the SMS message. It will forward the SMS message when the recipient is available or delete it when the message’s expiry period is exceeded. Typical reasons for a failure to deliver a message would include the handset being switched off, its memory being full or it being out of range. Typically retries will continue for 24 hours before the message is deemed “Undeliverable”. See our Support Centre for a full list of delivery statuses.


You must know the address of the wireless network operator’s SMSC in order to use SMS messaging with your mobile phone. Typically its address is an ordinary phone number in the international format. Very often an SMSC is dedicated to handle the SMS traffic of one wireless network. A network operator usually manages its own SMSC(s) and locates them inside its wireless network system. However, it is possible for a network operator to use a third-party SMSC that is located outside the wireless network system.

Short Message Service Centre
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