An SMS gateway allows a computer to send or receive Short Message Service (SMS) transmissions to or from a telecommunications network. Most messages are eventually routed into the mobile phone networks. Many SMS gateways support media conversion from email and other formats (Wikipedia). In simpler words, an SMS gateway is a website that allows users to send messages from the website to other users cell phones. It also serves as an international gateway for users with their ‘roaming’ setting on, to send text messages on home networks as well as other networks. A gateway provider is someone who provides an SMS gateway for people to use. The gateway transmits messages from one provider to another,
When SMS gateways were initially introduced, they were physical pieces of hardware that had to be connected to a mobile phone in order to send and receive text messages. Each gateway device contained a sim card and radio and was used to send text messages in a similar way to regular mobile phones.
The purpose of gateways is to act as a relay i.e. translating one protocol into another. This solves the problem commonly faced by different telephone providers in transmitting messages over networks that are incompatible with one another. Wireless network providers use gateways to connect SMS centers (SMSCs). An SMS center is a part of a wireless network which handles SMS operations including routing, forwarding and storing incoming text messages in between the time they are sent and before they are received.
An SMS gateway software is a commercial software product can easily be downloaded from the internet. The cost of sending one SMS message is the same for all destinations. For example, if you purchase ten SMS messages, you can send at most ten SMS messages no matter the destination in India or the United States. For a business that has purchased a gateway software, the cost of a single text message varies from around $0.06-$0.18. Customers that send international texts or use SMS gateways for other purposes have to pay $0.1 on average for each text (Developers Home).
SMS Gateway APIs (Application Programming Surfaces) have been developed for businesses to integrate the automated sending of text messages from within their own applications and websites. Gateways support different kinds of APIs such as https service, web service, SMTP service etc. The growing popularity of SMS is the reason why gateways have become so important. Statistics show that more than 50%of people check their phone first thing in the morning. To add to that, more than over 4.2 billion people are texting worldwide every day. This is why businesses have started setting up customer support. Research has shown that 79% of companies believe that their customers prefer SMS support over other mediums, and surveys were done on consumers have shown the same results. SMS is the most widely used service in the world, which automatically leads to an increased use of SMS gateways thus calling for ease of use in transmission of messages and fast service. This is why companies are gearing up to provide the cheapest, convenient an flexible gateway software in the market.