Africa is one of the largest mobile markets in the world and yet connectivity to many of its mobile networks can be problematic. So we’re working hard towards securing direct connectivity to all major networks in Africa to ensure that your messages deliver reliably.
In addition to all networks in South Africa, we’ve now added direct connectivity to Orange (Botswana), MTC (Namibia) and MTN (Swaziland) to your account. Pricing information for these networks can be seen by logging in to your account, mousing over your username at the top right and selecting My Account.
We’ll be keeping you updated as we add more direct networks to your coverage.
ICASA’s Numbering Plan Regulation has been approved. We want to make sure you know how this will influence your SMS account with us if you’re sending traffic to South Africa.
Most importantly, ICASA has requested that all premium-rated services move to a new number range by October 2014. We’re awaiting further clarity from the operators and as soon as we have this we’ll be able to update you. In the meantime, if you have a premium rated service (i.e. a premium rated short code), please contact your account manager so that they can advise you on how best to manage your transfer. We’ll ensure that your service is not interrupted and you’ll have ample time to make the relevant changes.
Tagged Number Ranges
ICASA has determined that Sender IDs should no longer be 11 – 16 digits, but rather only 10 digits. Although the format of the numbers will change slightly you will still be able to send two-way SMSes to South Africa.
What is “tagging”?
When creating an SMS campaign you’re able to set the FROM address (also known as the Sender ID). This is the number that the message will arrive from on the recipients handset. However, messages sent to South African networks need to be sent using a registered Sender ID belonging to a WASP (e.g. Panacea Mobile). In this case, what we do is switch out the Sender ID you specify (it can be any combination of numbers or letters) and replace it with the permitted Sender ID. The message will then arrive on the recipient’s phone from the registered Sender ID but when the recipient replies, the message will come back into your Inbox as being sent to the original Sender ID you specified.
This allows you to identify responses from different campaigns. If you send out two campaigns to the same numbers for different reasons, you’ll want to be able to see which campaign a recipient is responding to. Our tagging system makes this possible, all you have to do is set the Sender ID for each campaign to something different.
As we said above, this service will not be effected by the regulations coming into effect so you can continue to manage your campaigns efficiently.
If you have any further questions regarding ICASA’s Numbering Plan please contact your account manager. They’ll be happy to help you out.
We’ve added a stack of new features to Panacea accounts recently, including a Dashboard update, Substitution Fields, Premium Rate Reports and SMS Templates. Read on below to find out more.
The first thing you’ll notice when you log in to your Panacea account is an updated Dashboard view that gives you an overview of your recent activity. You’ll see a Quick Stats summary of messages sent for the day or week and their delivery rate, Recent Campaigns and a preview of the last messages received in your Inbox.
When creating Batch SMS Campaigns you can now insert custom data for each recipient into your messages using substitution fields. This allows you to send personalised messages to your recipients by using additional data in your batches. Below is a preview of how this can be done. You can also take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to use Substitution Fields.
Premium Rate Reports
We’ve added a new report type called Premium Rates under the Reports section in your account. This allows you to see how many messages you’ve received and how much revenue you’ve earned from each network on each of the Premium Rate number in your account.
Finally, we’ve added the ability for you to save and load SMS templates when composing an SMS. You’ll notice a link under the compose box that says More options clicking this will reveal options for you to save the text currently in the compose window as a template or load a pre-saved template into the compose window. For more info, have a look at our step-by-step guide on how to use SMS Templates.
We’re scheduled to release even more great new features soon, but for now let us know what you think of these in the comments section below.
A review of Bulk SMS prices in South Africa shows that Panacea Mobile offers the lowest price for Bulk SMS out of all service providers. In addition to that our customers also enjoyed an average SMS delivery rate of of 90% during 2012.
Bulk SMS Pricing Comparison
We’ve monitored the pricing advertised on the websites of various Bulk SMS providers in South Africa. Below is a table of current pricing advertised on each company’s website. The price indicated is a per SMS cost for the volume tiers.
Unmatched Quality & Delivery
In addition to having the lowest SMS pricing in the market our online SMS portal and API were available for 99.98% of 2012. Our average delivery for 2012 was 90% with some accounts even reaching a delivery of as high as 99% when using our Number Validation service.
We’re incredibly proud of the Panacea team for providing a consistently high quality service at the lowest price and thankful to our customers who continue to trust us to deliver their messages.
Notes: (1) Prices we’re recorded on the date of publishing and are subject to change without notice. (2) Some Bulk SMS services have multiple price tiers within the above volume columns, in this case the lowest price was shown. (3) BulkSMS.com advertises prices inclusive of VAT, the prices in the table above have had VAT deducted to show a fair comparison.
Sending SMS to inactive mobile numbers is a waste of money. Constant mobile number churn caused by customers replacing SIM cards, taking out new contracts and other factors means that over time your database of customer mobile contact numbers becomes less valid and you could be wasting money by sending SMSes that are guaranteed to fail.
If your customer mobile contact number database is more than 6 months old or your delivery rates are below 80%, this could be from mobile number churn among your customers.
Panacea Mobile provides a way to detect invalid numbers so that they can be removed from your database and you can save the cost of sending to numbers that are guaranteed to fail. In fact, some accounts that have made use of the Panacea Mobile number lookup service have achieved up to a 99% delivery rate. At only 9c per lookup, this can be significantly cheaper than the cost of sending an SMS to inactive numbers
For step by step instructions on how to do number validation click here.