The amount of data that can fit into a single SMS message is limited -- typically 160 bytes, or 160 basic characters. So 1 SMS message = a 160 bytes message = a 160 basic text character message.
What happens if you go over 160 basic text characters in a message?
In this case you are charged for additional SMS messages. Here’s how SMS messages are broken down:
- 1-160 character(s) = 1 SMS message
- 161-306 characters = 2 SMS messages
- After you've reached 306 characters, every 153 characters would count as an additional SMS message ie 307-460 characters = 3 SMS messages
Emojis and special characters use more bytes than basic text characters so when you use them in a SMS, the number of total characters you can use in an SMS messages changes. If at least 1 Emoji or Special Character is used in a SMS message, the total SMS message character count (basic text characters + emojis + special characters) is as follows:
- 1-70 character(s) = 1 SMS message
- 71-134 characters = 2 SMS messages
- After you've reached 134 characters, every 67 characters would count as an additional SMS message ie 135-202 characters = 3 SMS messages
What do the recipients see when they receive messages that are over the single message character limit and is counted as 2+ SMS messages?
Each carrier handles these types of messages differently. Here are examples of known carriers:
- Recipients who have an AT&T or Verizon service will combine the message as as one long SMS message.
- Recipients who have service from Sprint, T-Mobile, and MetroPCS may see messages split into multiple messages. The delivery order of the split messages can’t be guaranteed, so sending messages that fit within a single message is recommended.
The amount of data that can fit in a single MMS is limited to 5 mb. Within the 5mb limit, you can send up to 10 files (with a .5 mb limit per file) and 1,600 characters per MMS.
What happens if you go over the 5 mb limit?
Each file would be converted to an URL and be sent as separate SMS messages. Additionally, the character message associated with the original MMS message would be now sent as an SMS message.
- 10 files + 1,600 characters <5mb limit = 10 SMS messages (10 file URLs) + 1,600 character SMS message (11 SMS messages).
What happens if you go over the .5 mb limit per file?
The uploaded file(s) that is over the .5mb limit would be converted to a URL and be sent as a separate SMS message.
- 1 file <.5 mb/file + 2 files >.5 mb/file + 1,600 characters = 1 MMS message + 2 SMS messages (2 file URLS).
What happens if you go over the 10 file limit?
Each file would be converted to a URL and be sent as separate SMS messages. Additionally, the character message associated with the original MMS would be now sent as a SMS message.
- 11 files + 1,600 characters = 11 SMS messages (11 file URLs) + 1,600 character SMS message (11 SMS messages).