FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

While working on the Android port of FrontlineSMS, I currently come across the question, what the limits for SMS delivery are (per hour and per day) - and when you would need to consider a bulk service like IntelliSMS. It affects the way the software needs to be designed, and we might need to put a delay between each SMS in order not to hit the limit too fast.


The Android platform itself limits SMS delivery to 100 per hour, however, it can be circumvented by rooting the phone (and loosing the guarantee at the same time unfortunately) and changing a specific system setting. So technically, this hurdle can be mastered, but the next one is the limitation set by the mobile carrier then.


I found that some mobile carrier provide business subscriptions (i.e. where there are almost no limitations, while regular private subscriptions usually don't allow more than 100 sms per hour. Depending on each use case, this can either be few or a lot.


The downside with IntelliSMS and similar providers seems to be that it requires a data connection (usually http or smtp interfaces are provided).


I am based in China; referring to these two articles:

the limitations by all three mobile carriers in China are (for regular subscriptions):


China Mobile / China Unicom / China Telecom:

Regular days:

200 messages per hour

1,000 per day


500 messages per hour

2,000 per day


I am interested what limits others users have experienced with other operators around the world.


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Comment by Mathias Conradt on May 24, 2011 at 7:03am

I had one test user from Argentina who reported as below (I guess it shouldn't be an exception) - I haven't tested any bulk delivery myself yet; just for the record, I post his report here:

For some reason my provider Telecom Personal Argentina, restricts the delivery... I send 40 sms, after that, none sms arrives. Will try to contact some technical support, but seems that is restricted to avoid mass sms delivery

I went today to de Provider to ask for technical information, tomorrow may have it by email
something they told me, is that sending bulk rapidfire sms is automatically canceled after a limit
so, i think that it will work sending packages of sms in parts, like: 40 sms, wait 1 minute, send 40 - wait 1 minute. Can u program this feature? I'll try it and send u the feedback (even better would be to manually set the parameters to bulk send and wait - like send 50 sms - wait 2 minutes, or send 90 sms, wait 2 minutes, so anyone can set it to thier provider limits)

Comment by kiwanja on May 24, 2011 at 5:25am

Hi Mathias


Interesting questions - I'd love to see if anyone else has even ever really considered this before.


In terms of throughput, the maximum number of messages you can generally send through an attached phone/GSM modem with FrontlineSMS is around 8 SMS per minute (due to protocols, handshaking, etc). Assuming you got an average of, say, 5 per minute that would only provide around 300 per hour, assuming they were all sent at once. I've never seen any reports of users having problems sending message blasts which exceed any limits set by operators, so maybe that 300 figure doesn't set off any alarm bells.


I generally recommend online aggregators if large-ish batches of messages are sent in one go (in the upper hundreds upwards) because of the time it would take to send via a GSM modem. There are also issues of cost - aggregators can be cheaper as well as cheaper depending on volumes. The main downside is, as you say, the need for Internet access.


Not sure if any of that helps. From my perspective, if the first release of an FrontlineSMS:Android has a sending limit then we could flag this and see how many users hit it. Many people also use FrontlineSMS to receive information, so this wouldn't effect them.



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