Why is my SMS message using so many segments?

If you think back to old Nokia brick-phones, and early SMS messages, you may remember that an SMS message is limited to 160 characters. When you went over 160 characters it would send as 2 SMS messages (and really burn down your pre-paid credit).

Even in our modern age, this is still how SMS messages work – and it's called message segments.

When you're composing your message in Raisely you can write as long a message as you like, but once it actually goes down the wire it will be split up and sent in segments. Most modern phones still receive this as one message, but it can have a big impact on how much it costs to send that SMS. 

For example: A 1 segment SMS is charged at US$0.06. If you're sending a message to 100 people, then that 1 segment would cost you US$6. If you wrote a longer message and it was 3 segments, it would cost US$18.

Raisely will warn you when your message will send in more than 1 segment with a notice like this:

If you're seeing this message, here are two tips to bring the number of segments down.

Remove emojis 👎

Emojis are good fun, but if you use them in a message each segment will be capped at 70 characters instead of 160 characters, even if you just have one emoji in your message.

Watch out for special characters

If you've pasted your message from a program like Microsoft Word, you may have special characters like smart quotes (‘ ’) or backticks (`). These will also reduce the limit of a segment from 160 to 70, and can drastically increase the cost of your SMS. Accented characters like ū may also do this.

Instead, replace these special characters with simple ones, like regular apostrophes or unaccented characters.


If you'd like to understand more about how segments work, read Twilio's explainer on the technology behind SMS messages.

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