Clickatell logo

Alternative SMS provider to Clickatell

Alternative SMS API to Clickatell


Clickatell  was one of the first SMS API providers.

As far back as the late 90s they were one of the only SMS suppliers that catered to enterprise customers who needed global connectivity at scale.

They grew very quickly and became one of the market leaders. Since those early days, the market has become ferociously competitive and their market share has inevitably dwindled.

Based in South Africa, they now face very stiff competition from some massive corporations, mainly based in the US and Western Europe.

These days they’ve  shifted from just being an SMS API provider to an SMS chat and chat commerce expert.

In their own words..

“Clickatell’s Chat Commerce Platform as a Service allows brands to deliver engaging, contextually-relevant messages, customer support and rich payments in messaging channels, at scale.”

How does Clickatell score on Trustpilot?

Clickatell trustpilot score

Clickatell’s Trustpilot score is just 2.7/ 5.0. They are rated as poor.

Looking at the reviews in a little detail, I don’t think this low score is a true reflection of their performance of their product and support.

Many of the 1 star reviews date back several years and Clickatell’s responses seem genuine. Where there’s been an issue they do appear to be trying to resolve it.

Some customers have written bad reviews because they were using the Clickatell platform in ways that are not permitted and then lashed out when their account was blocked. It’s quite a common response and something Twilio have also been victims of.

Like many large corporations, they do suffer slightly from unresponsive or slow support but that doesn’t appear to be the core reason for the poor review score.

What is Clickatell’s SMS pricing?

Clickatell offers 2 levels of SMS service, ‘standard’ or ‘priority’. Standard is ‘intended for non-critical messages that aren’t time-sensitive such as promotions, brand announcements, or CRM messages’.

This is essentially code for letting you know that the standard option uses grey routes and could be unreliable.

The priority option is what most providers have as their only option, i.e tier one connections to mobile networks.

1000 texts to UK mobiles on the standard route cost 3.5 pence per text.
1000 texts to UK mobile on the priority route costs the same at 3.5 pence per text. (Why would you choose the standard route?)

They do mention in their terms and conditions that these prices are only estimates, so the actual cost could be higher.

From their Ts&Cs,

1.6 You will be able to view a pricing estimate on our website, but please be aware that due to the constant fluctuation in price, the actual price you pay may be different by the time you send your message or get charged for a service.

You will also be charged a fee of $5 for choosing to use your own sender ID. This isn’t something that you’d be expected to pay for.

You are also charged for a campaign activation fee of $20, also something that you shouldn’t really have to pay for.

I also spotted a one time ‘application fee’ of $130 if you wanted 2-way messaging.

Unclear SMS pricing from Clickatell

Overall, Clickatell’s pricing is somewhat opaque and confusing. There appear to be many separate charges for different elements and after about 20 minutes on their site, I still hadn’t quite got my head round it.

Unclear and slightly hard to understand pricing is probably the main reason you’d want to look for an alternative SMS gateway.

Alternatives to Clickatell.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Clickatell there’s plenty of choice. Your decision should be based on your objectives and the level of support that you might need.

If your SMS activities are mainly going to be based in your own country, then you’re better off selecting an SMS API provider that’s based where you are.

They will understand the rules and regulations in your country far more comprehensively than a company based in a different country.

Choose a smaller SMS supplier if you think you’ll need more in depth support. Large corporations tend to have slower and less attentive support and they’re often set up to service enterprise sized customers.

They tend to operate slower support ticket systems rather than just giving you an account manager who you can deal with directly.

Some of the larger suppliers are listed in an article about alternatives to Twilio, one of Clickatell’s main competitors.

If you’re based in the UK and send mainly to UK companies, here are a few good reasons to explore The SMS Works as a potential SMS API provider.

5 Reasons to use The SMS Works as an alternative to Clickatell

1. Lower cost per text without additional and confusing extra charges.
2. All undelivered messages to UK mobile are refunded, so there’s no wastage.
3. Rapid and really thoughtful support. We’re based here in sunny Bristol.
4. Comprehensive set of SMS tools.
5. Detailed SMS analytics tool – SMS Insights

We’re here to answer any questions you might have. If you’d like to explore us a little further, help yourself to a free test account. We’ll add some free credits for testing and also a reply number if you want to test incoming SMS,

Anything else just drop us an email, we’ll get back surprisingly quickly.
[email protected]

author avatar
Henry Cazalet Managing Director
Co-founder and Director of The SMS Works, a low cost and powerful SMS API for developers. About Henry