How does SMS work? Let ping pong explain it

Giovanni Benini, COO & CFO at Global Telco Consult, reveals the secrets of bulk SMS delivery by stepping into his garage to play table tennis

In 2020, businesses sent 5.52 billion text messages every day. By 2025, they will send 7.18 billion. Even after 30 years, the text message is still proving to be a powerful channel for marketing and customer care.

But how does the system work? What’s going on behind the scenes to ensure that billions of messages reach their intended recipients?

Giovanni believes ping pong can explain it. And in this exclusive homemade video, he shows how.

Imagine a ping pong ball is an SMS, he says. Once you press ‘send’, the SMS is sent via the nearest cell tower to your operator’s SMS Centre (SMS-C). This is where the operator collects all text messages before sending them on using routing rules and the store-and-forward principle. 

In our ping pong metaphor, the SMS-C is like a tray at the end of the table holding multiple balls.

Now, the operator needs to fire out the SMSs to their intended targets – rather like a robot table tennis server. 

But there’s a snag. Sometimes the messages fail. This could be due to routing rules or the receiving network’s firewall configuration. 

These SMSs hit the net.

The answer? Re-configure the rules so that the texts sent by the SMS-C sail over the net to reach their targets. And once the SMS is received, the system can return a delivery report to the SMS-C and the sender. Just like returning a serve.

Click below to see the full video. 

Do you have any questions? Contact the GTC team