Text Message (SMS) Based Service/Business in Kenya

Since the introduction of mobile phones, text messages became the most favorite means to communicate with friends and family sending the famously known as snail mail service packing. As expected with most technology based services, text messages have ever since evolved to offer additional functionalities such as product promotion and content provision other than communicating with loved ones. Today, SMS services enable businesses to communicate with specific groups, promote their services/products or allow customers access their services or content. In order to achieve this ambition (send/receive text messages), you can use a regular 10 digit phone number or apply for a simple code; a 10 digit phone number is suitable for communication between friends, colleagues and family members, on the other hand, business are compelled to apply for simple codes which can easily be remembered by customers.

In addition to applying for simple codes between 4-8 digits (easy to remember), text message services/businesses are limited by traffic handling capabilities, text messages send on this special codes are charged at premium rates with profits shared between mobile service provider and the premium rate service provider. In normal circumstances, a text message in Kenya costs between Kshs.1 and Kshs.5 on all mobile service providers; on the other hand, a premium text message (send to a special short code) is charged from Kshs.10 onwards.
How to get a short Text Message Service Code
As earlier indicated, you are required to apply for the short code from the Communications Commission of Kenya and become a premium service provider or get one from an existing premium service provider, short codes are further classified into memorable ones such as 4444 and normal ones such as 5283; memorable short text message codes are expensive compared to normal ones. If you decide to apply for a short memorable text message code from the Communications Commission of Kenya, you’ll be bound to pay a license fee worth Kshs.200,000 renewable at a yearly rate for Kshs.100,000; however, if you apply for a normal text message code from CCK, you’ll pay an initial license fee worth Kshs.200,000 and a yearly renewable rate of Kshs.10,000.
You can also get a short text message code from an existing premium service provider; in this case, it totally depends on your agreement which can range between Kshs.10,000 to Kshs.60,000 to rent and become a content provider. The short text message code rented can be dedicated or shared; a shared short code means you are not the sole user of that code and a systematic way such as asking your customers to begin with letter ‘y’ when communicating to you is used to differentiate content providers. A dedicated short text message code is expensive but there is no need of using additional unique ID such as asking customers to send messages starting with letter ‘x’. After acquiring the short text message code, businesses are now expected to advertise and popularize their short codes to customers.



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