How the Generic SMS APIs Compare to Each Other (and RingCaptcha)

Even when your app is still in the ideation phase, you are probably already starting to think about user onboarding and authentication. You know you need the ability to onboard users via their mobile devices (both for authentication and to allow them to download the mobile app with ease).  You may be scratching your head about is which of the myriad solutions is right for your app.

Generic SMS Gateways in Our Test

If your app is intended to reach a global audience, you might face implementation problems with the generic APIs — transmissions involving countries with specific SMS requirements or formats can have disproportionately high performance problems, including blockages or failures.

We came to this conclusion after spending over three months testing several generic messaging APIs like Twilio, Nexmo, and others, specifically looking at performance issues that would be of great concern to app developers like yourself.

Our testing was deeply focused on reception rates for transmissions of SMS verification to different types of Android devices. We compiled data over six months of testing, and what we present you with here serves — showing you the weaknesses of different providers, in certain geographies across several seasons.

The infographic below shows how the generic SMS gateways compare in terms of deliverability, latency and reliability within different countries and among available carriers.

Note: While one provider may appear to be strong in a certain area, please know that this data changes often. Busy seasons, like July 4, Black Friday, and the like, can make a carrier in a particular area no longer a consistent gateway. This is why our Smart Routing algorithm chooses the best carrier at the exact moment of sending — what’s great at one time may be burdened beyond capacity the next time an SMS is sent in the same region.

How your favorite SMS gateway stack up across the world

Did You Get My SMS?

As you can see above, the generic solutions simply don’t perform well in some markets, including India, China, many European nations and in the Middle East. Each of these markets have specific requirements for SMS transmissions and any messages that don’t conform are denied. User error, or even your own confusion (failure to escape special characters or to take into account regional dialing conventions), may lead to a large percentage of blocked SMS. There are a variety of reasons a carrier may block your SMS.

Your messages may be delivered or they may not be delivered – it’s often difficult to tell for sure without looking at the device. You may end up with a large number of unconfirmed users (a wasted opportunity if you can’t authenticate them quickly), but how do you activate them if you aren’t even sure whether got your SMS in the first place?

Aside from that, there’s also readability to consider. Your message may have gotten through, but if it isn’t encoded correctly, your SMS may appear to be spammy gibberish.

Generic Messaging APIs Aren’t Robust Enough

Developers choose generic messaging APIs for authorization because they’re well-known and easy to understand. Twilio and Nexmo dominate the market, but they just don’t perform to the exacting standards that many developers expect and require. When an SMS is sent for authentication, you have to be able to rely on that message to be delivered – or obviously returned for a clearly understood reason. You need to be able to rely on a solution that will correct a user’s mistake – including recognizing a faulty user input and correcting it for all global numbering situations.

Your community’s growth and health depends on real users, and spammers and fraudsters will cost your app a great deal of money. You need an SMS gateway that is easy to install, solves the deliverability problem and augments all of this with strong, actionable analytics.

Your app has got to be stellar to draw users, but you can’t lose them before they even get started. RingCaptcha’s Smart Routing algorithm ensures your messages are being sent via the best SMS gateway per county. It finds the right time of day to send and even the season to deliver it (if applicable). Don’t settle for a generic messaging API, with one SMS gateway, to send SMS that you rely on. With RingCaptcha, you get a mature solution, with hundreds of carriers — and better, the right one for each location — all made available to you through just one API.

Integrating RingCaptcha is easy, and once it’s installed you’ll see for yourself how reliable it is for SMS authentication and onboarding — click here to get started.

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  • Ananya Vadapally

    I live in India and I love using SMS to promote my business.

  • I think, SMS also helps the businesses to promote very well. You explain it in such a deep manner and personallly, I got a lot of valuable information from this.