Text Segments – GSM vs non-GSM Characters

April 23, 2024

Let’s dive into how SMS messaging works with ClientTether, focusing on GSM vs. Non-GSM characters. Understanding this will help you manage your messages more effectively and enhance the experience for your recipients.

GSM Characters in ClientTether For most of your messaging needs within ClientTether, sticking with GSM characters is your best bet. Here’s why:

  • A single SMS can hold up to 150 characters. If your message exceeds this limit, it’s split into chunks of 150 characters each. For instance, a message with 161 characters would be sent as one segment of 150 characters and another with just 11 characters.
  • The SMS segments are counted in increments of about 150 characters:
    • Up to 150 characters = 1 SMS Segment
    • Up to 300 characters = 2 SMS Segments
    • Up to 450 characters = 3 SMS Segments
    • …and so on.
  • Curious about which characters are GSM? Check out this list of GSM characters!

Non-GSM Characters in ClientTether Non-GSM characters are a bit trickier but still supported:

  • The character limit per SMS segment drops to 65 characters. Not all devices or networks handle these well, and they might appear as separate messages.
  • Here’s how SMS credits tally up with Non-GSM characters:
    • 65 characters = 1 SMS Segment
    • 150 characters = 2 SMS Segments
    • 195 characters = 3 SMS Segments
    • …and so on.
  • To help you avoid unintentionally using Non-GSM characters, here’s a tool to identify them.

Detecting Non-GSM Characters Great news! ClientTether automatically alerts you if there are Non-GSM characters in your message. If Non-GSM characters are detected, the outline of the text box turns red, the character count adjusts, and an info bubble pops up next to the Message Label with a quick explanation.

If you want to double-check your message for Non-GSM characters before sending, try this recommended Non-GSM Detector and Segment Calculator.

Just so you know, the character counts mentioned include space for headers that specify the encoding system used. Our reporting on character splits gives you a conservative estimate to help you plan your SMS segments effectively.

Happy messaging!