Broadcasts Overview

Broadcasting a message means sending the same message to multiple end users. Broadcast lets you:

  • Send an SMS message
  • Send an MMS message
  • Trigger a MEP service
  • Apply credit to the end user's mobile account (available for Mobile Crediting campaigns only)

Your available options depend on your MEP account settings.

You can create, edit, and review broadcasts through the Broadcasts tab of MEP. Broadcasting in MEP is designed to be simple yet powerful, with flexible sending options that enable you to easily control broadcast activity.

View the video!

Watch to see how to broadcast a message and discover some useful broadcasting features.

Character encoding options

You can use either of these character encodings when sending a broadcast message.

  • GSM (default set) — This character set is the standard set used by GSM handsets. It covers the roman alphabet as well as additional characters used in languages with Latin or European roots. You can see a table of the supported characters below.
  • UCS-2 — This encoding contains almost all known characters in many languages, such as Arabic, Kanji, Chinese Hanzi and Urdu. Because of this, UCS-2 uses twice the amount of data than GSM. As SMS messages are limited by data length, this means the message length of a single SMS (sent using UCS-2) is just 70 characters. For multipart messages, this is reduced down to 268 characters. For more information on multipart see Single and Multipart Messages.

Note: Emojis are not supported by UCS-2. In addition, the MEP API does not support emojis embedded into broadcasts. If you would like to include an emoji in a broadcast, you can upload it as content.

When sending a broadcast, MEP will default to using the GSM character set. If your message includes non-GSM characters, then MEP uses the UCS-2 character encoding to send the message — when you create a broadcast, MEP will notify you if this is going to occur.

However, if your message includes EL expressions, then MEP cannot tell whether your expressions contain non-GSM characters until it processes the message for each user (which occurs just before a message is sent). To make sure that we send the message as you want it, the Create Broadcast page will ask you to confirm whether or not you want to send the message as UCS-2 if we find non-GSM characters in an expression.

GSM character set

The following characters are in the standard GSM character set.

GSM 03.38 standard character set

GSM escaped characters

The following characters (left column) are also included as part of the GSM character set.

GSM 03.38 escaped characters

Retry strategies for messages

Sometimes a message cannot be delivered immediately. In these instances, OpenMarket (and the mobile operator) will normally make multiple attempts to reach the end user before considering the message to have failed. This increases messaging reliability and delivery success rates.

There are a number of reasons why a message might be delayed:

  • The end user's mobile operator is temporarily unreachable.
  • The end user's mobile phone is unreachable; e.g. turned off or out of signal reach.

When OpenMarket cannot reach a mobile operator, we use an exponential "back-off" strategy, with the first retry after 30 seconds, then the second after a further minute. A total of 10 submission attempts are made, with the 10th message occurring around four hours after the initial attempt. In the unlikely event that the mobile operator is still unreachable after this time, the message is treated as permanently failed, and no more delivery attempts are made.

Much more common is a message delivery failure due to the mobile phone being unreachable. Each mobile operator has their own retry strategy for reaching their end users, which generally spans several days.

If your broadcast messages are time-sensitive, then you can set an expiry date; see Set an expiry date for broadcast messages. This stops any delayed messages from being attempted or retried after the expiry date.