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Transactional or Promotional SMS: What Does Your Business Need?

promotional and transnational sms

According to a report released by Dynmark International, the open rate for SMS or text messages has already exceeded by 98%. Further, 90% of the text messages are read within 3 seconds from delivery. The high and fast open rate has made SMS a key component of omnichannel customer communication. A large percentage of customers these days interact with businesses and brands by sending text messages. Likewise, most businesses use text messages as a robust communication tool to deliver customer service and run marketing campaigns.

The text messages sent by a business or brand can be divided into two broad categories – transactional SMS and promotional SMS. A business sends transactional text messages to customers to provide relevant information required to use its products or services more efficiently. The Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) defines transactional SMS as a text message which does not contain any promotional content.

On the other hand, a business sends promotional text messages to promote a product or brand by informing both customers and prospects about offers, discounts and promotions. TRAI has not defined promotional SMS clearly. But it regards all non-transactional or service text messages as promotional text messages. Hence, before availing the benefits of bulk SMS services, businesses need to identify the major differences between transactional SMS and promotional SMS

Major Differences between Transactional SMS and Promotional SMS

TRAI Guidelines

TRAI has imposed several guidelines to control bulk SMS services in India. For instance, it prohibits businesses and marketers from sending promotional SMS to telephone numbers which are on the Do Not Disturb (DND) list. But it allows businesses to send transactional SMS to customers who are on the DND list.

Hence, it becomes essential for businesses to abstain themselves from sending promotional text messages to customers falling in the DND criteria. However, TRAI keeps updating the regulations and restrictions related to bulk SMS services at regular intervals. The businesses must comply with the latest TRAI regulations while sending each type of text messages.


As noted earlier, a business has to send transactional and promotional SMS for different purposes. The transactional text messages act as a tool to convey important product or service information to existing customers. For instance, a bank can send transactional SMS to deliver important information like bank account balance, current bank transaction, and OTP for financial transaction.

On the other hand, the businesses use promotional tools as a powerful tool to advertise or promote their products or services. They send these text messages to customers to convey offers, discounts or promotions. They further send the promotional SMS to customers and prospects regardless of their consent.

Delivery Time

Transactional SMS can be sent on a specific action taken by the customers like requesting OTP or placing order. Hence, a business can send transaction text messages 24 hours a day. But no business can send promotional messages to customers and prospects before 9 AM and after 9 PM.

Sender ID

The bulk SMS service providers send transactional messages and promotional messages using different and independent SMS gateways. But the businesses need to select the sender ID according to the type of text messages. A business can send transactional text messages using an alphabetic sender ID consisting of six characters. But it has to use a numeric sender ID for sending promotional text messages.

Charges and Taxes

TRAI imposes service taxes on promotional SMS. But it does not impose any service taxes on transactional SMS. Also, TRAI prescribed a termination charge of 5 paise on both transactional and promotional SMS. The service and termination charges make promotional and transactional text messages more expensive than normal text messages. Hence, a business has to incur additional expenses to send both transactional and promotional SMS.

The bulk SMS services provided by leading cloud telephony service providers help businesses to send both transactional and promotional text messages without violating various TRAI guidelines. In addition to helping businesses to run multiple SMS campaigns simultaneously, the providers also boost the campaigns by providing sophisticated facilities like automatic DND checking, marketing campaign scheduling, automatic SMS retries, and business system integration.

Start your free bulk SMS trial with Servetel. Reach out to us at 1800-120-4132.