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How long can a text message be?
How long can a text message be?

160 characters in the U.S. and Canada is the industry-standard maximum for SMS messages across all carriers and phones.

Lisa Willey avatar
Written by Lisa Willey
Updated over a week ago

At this time, 160 characters is the industry-supported standard maximum for text messages across all carriers/mobile service providers in the U.S. and Canada.

However, thanks to the popularity of smart phones, most carriers do support longer messages. As a result, our U.S. accounts can send extended messages up to 1600 characters.

Depending on how long your message is, you have three different sending options through SimpleTexting. 

Standard SMS:

Character count: 160  ||  Credit per message: 1

These are your standard text messages that we mentioned above. They can be up to 160 characters, and they cost one credit, per contact, to send. Any images or file attachments sent out via SMS will be delivered as a URL.

Extended SMS:

Character count: 306  ||  Credit per message: 2

An Extended SMS message is basically a double SMS. These can be up to 306 characters in length, and they cost two credits per contact. 

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service):

Character count: 1600  ||  Credit per message: 3

MMS messages can be up to 1600 characters in length, and cost 3 credits per contact to send.

With MMS you can also add a subject to your messages, and include images and file attachments (up to 1MB in size) within the body of your message. 

How do I choose between these 3 types of messages in my account?

How to send an SMS:

It's important to note that the "Reply stop to stop" compliance message in campaigns uses characters here.

In your Campaigns and Autoresponders tab, you have the option to send an Extended SMS or MMS, as well!

How to send an Extended SMS:

How to send an MMS:

Pro tip: See how many characters you have left in your message in the lower righthand corner of your message text box. 

What happens if I send an MMS message to a phone that isn't able to receive MMS messages?

Fear not, we’ve implemented what’s called an “SMS Fallback Message” for all MMS messages. If a phone isn’t able to receive an MMS message, our system will pick up on that, and will send them the fallback message in its place, which simply sends the message out in the form of a link, like this. 🙂

Prefer not to use MMS? There are plenty of workarounds for sending out longer content in the form of SMS messages. We’ll walk through two of the easiest ways to do that below. 

Host your content online:

One simple option is to use a keyword’s auto-confirmation message to provide the main content of your message. You can include a link to a website where the rest of your message, call to action, coupons, forms, etc. are hosted. 

Set up an SMS message flow:

Alternatively, you can use a keyword’s auto-confirmation message to provide the main content, then create a series of timed autoresponders to provide the remaining content in your preferred sequential order.

You can pre-schedule autoresponders to go out a few hours, days, months, or even years in advance!

Pro tips:

  1. Be sure to leave a 1-2 minute delay for your first queued autoresponder so your contacts don’t receive the autoresponder content before they receive your auto-confirmation message.

  2. Similarly, a good rule of thumb is to leave at least a 1-2 minute delay between autoresponders to allow time for each message to be received and read before your contact is interrupted by the next text in your message flow.

Note: Starting with the end of August, 2022, MMS max file upload size for Sinch numbers will be:

GIF (static) - MAX size 740 KB

PNG - MAX size 740 KB

JPG/JPEG - MAX size 740 KB

MP3 - MAX size 740 KB

MP4 - MAX 740 KB

GIF animated - 600 KB.

If you're uploading multiple files in the MMS attachment, the size limit is the sum of the file sizes. You can upload up to five files.

Want to upload an image that exceeds the max file size? SimpleTexting has a handy built-in feature that shrinks images so that they meet provider gateway limitations. So, if the image size exceeds 740KB, you can still try to upload it.


Email us at [email protected]! We’re here to help. 🙂

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