The pitfalls of SMS

A potential single source of failure

Using SMS to contact multiple people

While Short Message Service (SMS) is a widely used and convenient form of communication, it comes with its own set of pitfalls. Message recipients will often state that they prefer to receive text messages rather than a voice call … but relying only on SMS is potentially setting you up to fail.

What could go wrong?

Character Limitations

Traditional SMS has a character limit, typically 160 characters. If your message exceeds this limit (up to a maximum of 900 characters in the UK, it is split into segments and re-assembled on your recipient’s handset. Older handsets support lower overall message lengths, and different locations also have different rules about the maximum length of a message, meaning not all of your recipient’s will receive your whole message.

Spam and Phishing

SMS is susceptiable to spam and phishing attacks. Unsolicited messages or links in SMS can pose security risks, and users need to be cautious about clicking on links or responding to messages from unknown sources.

Global Costs

While many mobile carriers offer free or unlimited SMS within their networks, international SMS can be costly. In some locations, recipients pay to receive SMS, so it isn’t just you potentially incurring costs.

Limited Formatting Options

SMS has limited formatting options compared to some other messaging platforms. This can make it challenging to convey complex information.

Delivery Delays

SMS messages may experience delays in delivery, especially during periods of high network traffic or when sent to recipients in areas with poor connectivity. This delay can impact the real-time nature of the communication.

Lack of Offline Access

Unlike some messaging apps that allow offline access to messages once they’ve been downloaded, SMS messages are typically stored on the device’s SIM card or internal memory. This lack of cloud-based storage can lead to challenges in accessing messages across multiple devices or if a device is lost or replaced.


SMS is widely used, and generally reliable – but it should never be your only communication channel. When combined with voice calls, emails, push notifications, and MS Teams to remove the potential single point of failure, SMS becomes a valuable addition to your communication toolbox.

For more information about Alert Cascade’s products and solutions, please contact the sales department:

Call: +44 (0) 1733 785999

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October 8, 2023

Written by

Marketing Team

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