Top 8 UK SMS Gateway Providers

SMS Gateway UK Provider List The 2024 SMS gateway list of UK providers are:

  • TextMagic – Best UK SMS Gateway Provider
  • Voodoo – Top bespoke solution offering
  • The SMS Works – Easy-to-use text message gateway
  • BulkSMS – Good for low-volume SMS orders
  • Text Marketer – Top SMS Marketing offering
  • Clickatell – Good South African-based firm
  • TextMagic – Flat-priced text message model
  • Twilio – Most popular global SMS provider

Broker Reviewed

Features TextMagic The SMS Works Messente BulkSMS Text Marketer
Overall rating
9.6
8.8
7.8
7.4
6.8
Price (out of 5) 5 4 3 3.5 3.5
Tools (out of 5) 5 3 5 4 4
Trust (out of 5) 4 5 4.5 3 3
Customer service (out of 5) 5 4 4 4 3
Years founded 2001 2017 2013 2000 1999
Listed or Private company Nasdaq Listed Private Private Private Private - Esendex
Head Office Cambridge, UK UK Estonia South Africa London

Pricing

Price per sms TextMagic The SMS Works Messente BulkSMS Text Marketer
  • >250K+
  • >100K+
  • >10K+
  • >2000
  • 3.20p
  • 3.20p
  • 3.40p
  • 3.90p
  • 3.55p
  • 3.55p
  • 3.85p
  • 3.85p
  • 5.0p
  • 5.0p
  • 5.0p
  • 5.0p
  • 3.33p
  • 3.33p
  • 3.58p
  • 3.75p
  • 3.20p
  • 4.10p
  • 4.30p
  • 4.30p
Payment mode Prepaid & invoice Prepaid & invoice Credit Card, Bank Transfer, PayPal. Pay-as-you-go, Pre-Pay Prepaid & invoice
Price match
Set up fees
Monthly fees
Feature TextMagic The SMS Works Messente BulkSMS Text Marketer
Payment methods Card, Paypal, Invoice Credit Card or Direct Debit Credit Card, Bank Transfer, PayPal. Pay-as-you-go, Pre-Pay Credit Card or Direct Debit
Payment mode Prepaid & Invoice Prepaid & invoice Prepaid Credit card or direct debit Invoicing
Price match
Set up fees
Monthly fees
N/A

SMS Functions

Feature TextMagic The SMS Works Messente BulkSMS Text Marketer
API for Developers
Software needed
SMS Gateway
API
2-Way SMS
WebSMS
Email to SMS
Carriers
UK UK Based Global
Dedicated number UK Based
Inbound SMS
Money back guarantee
Cros

Reliability

Feature TextMagic The SMS Works Messente BulkSMS Text Marketer
Global coverage
Gateway uptime 99.9%
99.80 N/A
SLA guarantee 99.9%
Spam compliant
Security and Privacy policy

Customer care service

Feature TextMagic The SMS Works Messente BulkSMS Text Marketer
Free trial
- 30 Days
1 Week Trial
Phone support
Email support
Support hours 6:00am to 11:00pm 24/5 24/5 24/7 24/5
Reviews 9.2 - ‎211 Reviews 9.6 - 126 Reviews 8.6 - 10 Reviews 8.0 - 1,559 Reviews 9.0 - 413 Reviews

Overall

Features TextMagic The SMS Works Messente BulkSMS Text Marketer
Overall rating 9.6 8.8 7.8 7.4 6.8
Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site

 

The Best SMS Gateway API Provider Is Textmagic

Based on the table I created above I found the Textmagic plan the best based on their:

  • Pricing from 3.20p per text message
  • GDPR compliant with detailed guides
  • Global reach of 190 countries
  • Simple and intuitive platform design
  • Advanced reporting and analytics

Textmagic Review >>Visit Textmagic>>

 

Pricing Comparison

A core factor leading to my TextMagic recommendation was the text message unit cost. The pricing table below was updated in June 2024 with brackets set on UK businesses’ most popular usage rates.

SMS Comparison Pricing
3.90 3.40 3.20 3.20
3.40 3.40 3.40 3.40
3.85 3.85 3.55 3.55
3.75 3.58 3.33 3.33
3.90 3.90 3.70 3.50
4.30 4.30 4.10 3.20
4.90 4.80 3.70 3.30
3.60 3.60 3.60 3.60
3.70 3.70 3.70 3.70
6.20 5.50 4.10 3.80
5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00
4.00 4.00 4.00 4.00

Current is in $$$

The Textmagic prices were based on their monthly plans. While a £0.04 per SMS rate exists as a flat pre-paid option, a plan offers a substantial discount which increased once a customer exceeds 38,000 texts per month. Higher usage may lead to even higher discounts that are not published on the website.

Textmagic Pricing Table

Another option is CPaaS pricing which is unique to Textmagic. This lets UK businesses integrate their current communication systems with TextMagic’s SMS capabilities. This service is perfect for businesses who want to enhance their existing setup without a complete overhaul. With flexible APIs and robust infrastructure, you can seamlessly add SMS functionality to your platforms, ensuring reliable and efficient messaging. This solution provides greater control, scalability, and customisation to meet specific business needs. The rate is 1p per text but note that you still need to pay your current CMS such as Twillo.

CPaaS Pricing

 

Textmagic Gateway UK Features

Textmagic provides application-to-person (A2P) messaging services to small and large businesses, public benefit organisations, and individuals. The company has a global market presence in more than 190 countries, including Europe, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

The BulkSMS text message gateway utilizes JSON REST for requests which is recommended for most API integration. The JSON REST API allows the business to submit and receive Bulk SMS messages. You can also get access to past messages and see your account profile. JSON deals with long messages in various languages and allows webhooks allowing text messages to be received back to your web server and publishes status reports.

The main features of this SMS gateway integration are shown on the table below

Mass Texting
Send personalised business texts to thousands of contacts instantly.Saves time and enhances reach.
Toll-Free Texting
Use toll-free numbers for SMS campaigns and two-way messaging in the US and Canada.Reduces costs for recipients
10DLC TextingEnsure better deliverability and compliance with 10-digit long code texting.Improves message reliability and compliance
Two-Way SMS Chat Engage in real-time conversations with customers and staff through an online SMS chat.Enhances customer engagement
SMS SchedulingPlan and schedule important SMS reminders, alerts, and campaigns.Ensures timely communication
Email to SMSConvert emails into text messages, making it easy to send SMS directly from your email inbox.Integrates seamlessly with existing workflows
Virtual Mobile NumbersUse dedicated numbers to receive text messages without initiating the conversation.Improves privacy and organisation
Click-to-Text WidgetEmbed a widget on your website to generate more leads through easy text communication.Increases lead generation
SMS API GatewayIntegrate SMS functionality with your website or software using API tools.Customises and automates messaging processes
Carrier Lookup and ValidationIdentify invalid phone numbers and carriers instantly to improve SMS campaign results.Enhances data accuracy and campaign effectiveness

Reviews Of TextMagic

As a global text message provider, Textmagic has a plethora of reviews. The most current reviews indicate an average score of 4.6/5 from 211 votes reviews, as recorded on Getapp at the start of June 2024. The key to their relatively positive range of reviews is based on their ease of use, quality of support and ease of set-up. The fact they don’t lock customers into contracts and no credit expiry was also seen as an advantage. It’s a combination of these factors that has given BulkSMS many positive reviews.

Textmagic Reviews

 

 

Customer Service Offered By Textmagic

Textmagic offers both e-mail and phone support from their customer service centre. Customer support service is offered from 06:00 to 23:00  Monday to Friday, and from 09:00 to 15:00  on weekends. The local UK number is 0808 168 1030 or the team can be e-mailed at support@textmagic.com

Further after-hours support is available via e-mail on the weekends. Some bank holidays will not apply and response times may exceed the times provided during regular business hours. There is also a coverage change notification e-mail list to be notified of changes to pricing which can occur for international numbers.

About SMS Comparison Table and Site

The SMS Comparison Table and the associated site have been developed by a set of SMS experts (who no longer work in this area) and therefore can provide an independent assessment of bulk SMS providers in the UK. The idea of preparing such a Table and Site came about because many businesses wanted a better and more knowledgeable method of analyzing and comparing SMS bulk providers in a simple, easy-to-review manner.

This SMS Comparison Table is updated constantly but prices and features can change by the SMS providers without notice so you are encouraged to review their sites before engaging a text messaging service.

Textmagic Review >>Visit Textmagic>>

Skip ahead

What Is An SMS Gateway?

An SMS gateway allows a CRM, computer or e-mail to send and receive text messages through mobile network providers. The most common uses of an SMS Gateway are for bulk SMS and reminder services with an API allowing two-way communication with businesses or customers.

Applications of an SMS Gateway include:

  • Web SMS with contacts uploaded without software.
  • E-mail SMS integrating SMS with e-mail programs.
  • API SMS Services utilising CRM software.

Within the UK, text message gateways will be directly routed by telecommunication carriers to the major providers via premium or aggregator carriers. This will impact reliability, the speed and the prices of text messages sent.

It should be noted that a short message service (SMS) also known as a “text message” has a limit of 160 characters when sent to another device. This means that messages exceeding this character limit will be split into multiple parts which may lead to higher sending charges.

What British Regulation Should I Consider?

When sending any text message campaign within the UK, you must meet the Data Protection Act (2013).  The law states that no company can send legally unsolicited electronic messages. This Data Protection Addendum (DPA or “Addendum”) applies to the processing of Personal Data governed by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679 and, where so applicable, shall form part of the BulkSMS Standard Terms and Conditions (the “Standard Terms and Conditions”) to be entered into between BulkSMS and its clients (the “Client”) acting on its behalf and as agent for each Client Affiliate, with effect from the date set out.

This applies to text messages through a gateway with any message requiring:

  1. Consent – The receiver must have provided consent to receive text messages or be an existing customer who has an existing business relationship
  2. Identify – All text messages need to identify what business they came from
  3. Unsubscribe – There needs to be functionality to unsubscribe from future business SMS correspondence (2-way SMS). A company needs to ensure any such request is processed within five days.

From a compliance aspect, the SMS provider needs to feature a strong privacy policy, be SPAM compliant, have extensive terms and conditions and have a clear acceptable use policy. To learn more about direct marketing compliance you can view the UK direct marketing website created by the Commonwealth.

Tips For Sending Business SMS Messages

Research has shown that short text messages perform the best. 95% of texts will be read within 3 minutes of being sent and around 98% of mobile users are likely to have read the SMS by the end of the day.

While 160 characters can exist within a text message, short and sharp messages that don’t require scrolling receive optimal open rates and engagement. Try to only provide a single message, whether a greeting, reminder, offer or referral.

Mobile phone is personal so must understand an individual’s personal space. Unexpected bulk SMS messages can be intrusive so ensure they are functional and courteous but not too familiar. Customisation tools can help maximise relevance but there is always a line an advertiser shouldn’t cross. Also, understand when the recipient will receive the text and the reliability of the gateway. Nobody wants to receive a text at midnight!

Don’t over-use the bulk SMS marketing channel – Infrequent and brief messages from businesses will ensure that users don’t unsubscribe from the communication. Use other channels such as e-mails to regularly update e-mails but avoid text messages for such communications.

Make sure you have a legitimate reason to send SMS messages – Ensure every message passes on useful information, acts as a reminder or clarifies an arrangement. As long as it has a legitimate use to an individual they will be happy to receive more text messages in the future.

Using A Premium SMS Provider

If your business sends SMS messages to customers, clients, stakeholders or staff, then a premium direct gateway carrier is for you. Your message will be delivered directly to major text message service providers.

A text message gateway allows a computer to distribute or accept business SMS marketing transmissions to or from a telecommunications network. Most messages are usually routed to mobile phone networks. Textmagic is one such example of an SMS gateway provider using a direct carrier. SMS API Text Message Gateway

Need for a reliant premium SMS text message gateway provider when:

  • Time-reliant SMS.
  • SMS alerts.
  • SMS where content is highly private.
  • Return messages from your customers are highly important.
  • Marketing and communication campaigns.
  • Reminders for appointments and delivery of a particular service.

How Can A British Business Integrate An SMS API?

Utilizing an API is a common practice by British businesses that have large-scale text message requirements. Developers connect to the SMS gateway through their preferred API from SMPP, Java, .NET, PHP or SOAP. Most providers will support SDKs through sample costs, documents and reusable libraries. Make sure the provider you choose has support levels that match your understanding of an SMS API as you may need a hands-on provider.

When setting up your API, the British SMS provider will provide you with a sample code. This will allow you to connect to a SOAP API regardless of the SMS API language you prefer. A provider like MessageMedia has samples o Java, GitHub in C3, Bash & Python as well as PHP. Other languages such as C++, Ruby and Powershell can also be utilised. Just talk to their support team when you first join and talk to their specialist SMS API technical support software person.

What Are The Benefits Of An SMS API Integration To A Text Message Platform?

API integration is so popular because:

  • Two-Way Messaging: The ability to send messages to the major British SMS networks and receive replies from the users.  
  • Message Tagging: A two-way SMS feature that reports on the exact application that an outbound message reply corresponds to.
  • Delivery Reporting: Track your text messages’ exact time they are received to handsets providing you with a full delivery audit trail.
  • Validity Period: Specify just how long a text message should be valid so that after this time if the SMS has not been delivered it doesn’t get delivered.
  • API Web Push: Get real-time delivery of inbound text messages to a URL for quick replies from staff, customers unlike polling can take time to validate

SMS Gateway Frequently Asked Questions

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a sophisticated software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. It simply allows query parameters via URLs that provide SMS gateway instructions to send text messages. This can be enabled through scripting languages such as PHP that can be integrated to web forms and other applications.

SMS is abbreviated for Short Message Service. It’s a communication method that allows a mobile phone to communicate with each other. An SMS gateway allows computers and e-mail to also send and receive text messages making it suitable for businesses.

An SMPP stands for a Short Message Peer-to-Peer Protocol. The SMPP gateway protocol is used within the telecommunication industry that exchanges SMS services between Short Messaging Entities (ESME) or Short Message Service Centers (SMSC). As a level-7 TCP/IP protocol, it ensures speedy SMS message delivery. The SMPP can receive and send messages from mobiles including CDMA, UTMTS, GMA and UMTS phones.
SMS Gateway UK Flow Diagram

A text message gateway acts as a relay. It translates from one protocol to another through SMSCs (SMS centres). These SMS centres include wireless networks that handle forwarding, routing and stores and other SMS operations ensuring the messages are delivered to the destination mobile phone.

SMS integration is when businesses use their existing database or CRM to target their customers through an SMS Gateway. This can include targeting customers with promotions, news and other information. This integration can use automation to communicate with customers at various forms of the consumption life cycle.

SMS means short message service while MMS means Multimedia Messaging Service. This is the next level of a text message allowing video, audio and picture content to be sent to a mobile device. Sending an MMS can lead to a premium price depending on the SMS gateway used.

E-mail security gateways have gained popularity as they monitor the e-mails that are processed to be sent to mobile devices. They can assist in preventing unwanted content from being delivered that can be caused by phishing attacks, SPAM and malware.

This depends on the regulation of the country you operate in and your provider. Most countries require providers to have an opt-out functionality and ways to contact the SMS sender. This is the case with the UK. Ensure you meet these requirements to remain compliant.

 

Free Trials Of UK Text Message Gateways

One of the values of assessing the functionality, reliability and efficiency of the SMS Gateway UK providers is by testing them through the offers of using their free trial period or the provision of a range of SMS that is allocated for testing their service. It can vary from free 5 SMS to 50 SMS dependent on the provider’s offer. In the case of the five selected Gateway providers, Message Bird does not offer such an offer and Nexmo will charge two (2) Euro. Textmagic, ClickSend, SMS Global, Burst SMS and SMS Solutions all offer a free trial based either on some text messages or a period.

Integrate Gateways Of SMS UK providers

With the use of flexible SMS API, Gateway providers can integrate SMS services into their system and application for better functionality required by the client.  New SMS integrations can often be added later on. Many SMS Gateway UK providers as reviewed on this site have API that can send more than 100 messages at any one time with the right type of application. For example, one can check the balance and delivery status of a single or group SMS without the need to log into the web interface. The official Microsoft ASP.NET Site is available for PHP, Ruby and . NET. There is no concern about shared resources since these providers have dedicated SMS API servers, thus allowing text messages and responses to be distributed efficiently and reliably. A number of these providers have quick integrations, connected with applications such as MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Campaign Monitor and Zapier.

SMS Serivces

SMS Gateway UK is essentially an online platform that provides a client with the means to send mass text messages within seconds of the command to send. It acts as a conduit between the user and the telecommunication network so that a reliable service is provided. There are the premier and hybrid telecommunication services, the latter being cheaper overseas providers which can be not as efficient as those within the UK. Many of the Gateway UK providers like Textmagic, use national dependable carriers such as BT, O2 and EE with an up-time of 99.9% or better with many having a 100% money-back reliability guarantee.

In most cases, British SMS Gateway providers have customer care centres in the UK to respond quickly to any concerns or information needed for the distribution of text messages. They provide an SMS service to engage with customers as well as measure and track campaign performance.

About This Gateway Comparison

The table above shows the final five reputable SMS bulk providers while other providers were considered such as SMS GlobalVoyage, MessageBird, Intelli SMS and SMS Broadcast.

The information was all sourced from the web SMS provider’s websites with correspondence only made at the time to verify the information published. As this information came from websites with no automation used it’s recommended that you verify the data shown on this site within the provider’s website. This can verify your decision when selecting the UK SMS Gateway provider that’s right for you. You can view why SMS in the UK is one of the most effective communication channels.

About SMS Comparison

The SMS Comparison table and site are available free of charge to all users interested in comparing different UK SMS providers for value, pricing, features, APIs, reliability and customer service.

It was established eight years ago as a result of demand from businesses who wanted an easy-to-follow analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of SMS providers, whether they are Bulk, Gateway, Marketing or Email to SMS providers.

The Comparison Table and associated sites are developed by a group of SMS experts in the field (who no longer work in that particular area) and therefore decided to provide you with an independent and unbiased review of SMS providers in the UK.

However, SMS providers can change the information on their sites without any notifications, so during your review, should you find any different information from what was provided on this site, please let the authors know so that any changes can be made.

The authors aim to ensure you are provided with a fair and reasonable overview of some of the major UK bulk SMS providers for your decision-making process.

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