Understanding Character Limits in SMS: Why Some Characters Count for More


In the world of SMS, not all characters are created equal. While at its core, the SMS protocol was designed around the GSM character set, encompassing the characters most commonly used in Western alphabets, the rise of global communication brought with it the need to convey more diverse sets of characters, including those outside the standard English alphabet.

Diving Deeper into Special Characters:

Text messages typically allow for 160 characters in the standard GSM character set. However, when you introduce special or non-standard characters - think emojis, certain punctuation marks, or characters from non-Latin scripts like Arabic, Chinese, or Cyrillic - the encoding switches to Unicode.

Why Unicode Matters:

Unicode was designed to represent almost all characters from all written languages. As you can imagine, encoding such a vast array of characters requires more data. As a result, when an SMS is sent using Unicode, its maximum length reduces drastically to 70 characters or even fewer in some cases. This means every single character, whether it's a letter from a non-Latin script or a special symbol, will often count as two spaces, reducing the amount of text you can fit in a single SMS.

When crafting your SMS on platforms like 1S2U.com, it's crucial to be aware of the character limitations, especially if your audience spans diverse linguistic backgrounds. By understanding these nuances, you can optimize your messaging strategy, ensuring that every word or character delivers value without incurring unnecessary costs. Always remember, in the realm of SMS, precision is paramount, and every character counts.