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What Is A Carrier Lookup Service?

Learn what a carrier look up service is, what this service does for you, and why it's necessary for text marketing services.

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Sending a text is simple from the user’s end. Type what you want to say, pick who you want to send it to, and press send.

It’s so simple, we often don’t think about all the steps that happen within a split second on the back end to take that text from your phone and deliver it to your recipient. That’s what carriers are for: businesses like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint are the powerful forces that make texting possible.

This means text marketing groups like SimpleTexting rely on these carriers to make their messaging possible as well.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about how text marketing software powers your communications, it’s important to understand what a carrier lookup service is, and why it’s needed.

This article will give you the rundown of everything you need to know about carrier lookup services.

What is Carrier and Service Provider Lookup?

To send messages through a text marketing platform, a carrier ID must be included, and the only way to get a carrier ID is by using a wireless carrier lookup.

With text marketing, your messages are sent from an online dashboard or app, not a traditional cellphone. But in order for a texting service to actually deliver these messages for you, they need to know what wireless carriers your subscribers are using.

Companies like SimpleTexting do that by using something called a wireless carrier lookup. We use this service for every new number added to the system (once a number is added, it’s automatically stored).

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Benefits of Carrier and Service Provider Lookup

Now you know what a carrier and service lookup is, here are the key benefits of a provider:

  • Improve and update your contact database. You can identify and remove any invalid numbers
  • Help to build out an SMS marketing strategy. You can use information from your carrier lookup to target specific audiences and locations – and it allows you to maximize your current marketing campaigns!
  • Reduce costs and improve team productivity. Every text message costs money, and any time spent on invalid numbers is wasted – ensure you’re not spending credits on contacts your messages won’t reach.
  • Separate landline to cell phone numbers. Effective text message marketing campaigns can contain GIFs, links and images. In short, it won’t work if you’re sending them out to landline numbers.

How Does Carrier Lookup Work?

How Does Carrier Lookup Work?

When a text service provider pings a carrier lookup service with a request, they respond with a numerical code. Each code has numbers that identify the exact carrier the number belongs to. 

For example, a carrier code including the numbers 31002 would be referencing AT&T. This carrier ID is then sent along with the text message to complete the delivery.

This step is necessary in part because of the compliance laws regulating text message marketing. Carriers have a share of voice in the regulation-making and, in some instances, they have restrictions on the kind of mass messages they allow through.

To summarize: to send messages through a text marketing platform, a carrier ID must be included for text messaging compliance, and the only way to get a carrier ID is by using a wireless carrier lookup.

Why is Carrier Information Required by Some Online Services?

Text marketing software like SimpleTexting requires carrier information for two reasons. The first is that knowing which carriers your subscribers are using suggests familiarity with the recipients. This means your messages are less likely to be treated as spam and filtered.

The other reason is that our clever text marketing software can use carrier information to determine the best way to deliver your text messages.

What Happens When Someone Opts In?

The scenario we described above is the most applicable in the case of sending a message to a stored contact or subscriber. But what happens when someone texts your business first, like with a keyword?

In this case, the message would actually come with a carrier ID, although it’s not something you would see without digging for it.

Either way, a carrier ID will always serve as the way we confirm that a phone number is on the right wireless carrier.

Knowledge is Power When It Comes to Carrier Lookup Services

For the most part, knowing and understanding carrier lookup services isn’t essential to use a texting service like SimpleTexting. However, having the basics covered is a good idea to help you understand why your messages could be flagged and the importance of keeping an up-to-date contact list. 

If you’re considering a business texting platform, sign-up to SimpleTexting’s two-week free trial. No credit card required.

Meghan Tocci
Meghan Tocci

Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.

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