What is MO and MT SMS

What is MO and MT SMS?

The SMS world is not short of jargon. 

Like many sectors it does its best to make things sound more complicated than they actually are.

So let’s dive in and briefly explain the difference between MO and MT messages in SMS.

What is MO SMS?

MO SMS stands for Mobile Originated SMS.

An MO SMS is a message that has been sent from a user’s phone to a company or organisation.

The SMS is sent to a software system or application rather than an actual individual mobile phone.

What is MO and MT SMS

MO SMS messages are sent either in reply to a text or they could be sent in response to having seen some marketing materials.

These 2 examples are explained in a little more detail below.

MO SMS  – Replying to text

This is the most common type of MO SMS.
Typically an organisation has sent a text to its customers asking them to respond by text.

For example, they might be asking customers to confirm an appointment or respond to a survey.
MO texts might also be used when a person is opting out of receiving further texts.

The number that the person replies to is a virtual mobile number that is provided by and hosted by the SMS provider.

MO SMS  – Responding to marketing or advertising

MO texts are often used as a way in which people can opt in to receiving further information on a product or service.

In this scenario, the user is invited to text a in a keyword to a 5 digit short code.

They will then receive an automated response back which will tell them what will happen next.

In the example below, a football club asks users to text a keyword to the short code 88440.

example MO text
Users text the keyword SWANS to 88440

What is an MT SMS?

MT SMS stands for Mobile Terminated SMS

MT messages are SMS text messages sent from an application or system to an end user’s mobile phone.

The word terminated in this context, simply means that the text was delivered (terminated) on a person’s mobile phone.

These are texts sent from business or organisations and can be sent for many reasons.

MT SMS can either be transactional texts (which means they are non-promotional) or they can be SMS marketing type texts.

The example below show a delivery notification MT SMS.

Example MT SMS

Uses for MT SMS

MT SMS can be sent for a wide range of reasons including:

1. SMS Delivery Notification
2. SMS for 2fa (2-Factor Authentication)
3. SMS Appointment Reminders
4. SMS Order Confirmation
5. Promotion, Sales and Marketing
6. SMS Surveys and Polls
7. SMS Server Alerts
8. SMS Billing / Payment Alerts
9. Customer Support by SMS

MT SMS are also known as transactional SMS and A2P (application to person SMS).

The image below shows the difference between an MO SMS and an MT SMS.

Difference between MO and MT SMS

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A complete guide to bulk SMS Bulk SMS is more than just sending marketing texts. This 15 section guide covers all the important things you need to know.

SMS versus email open rates. Which is higher? Is SMS still more responsive than email? Or have response rates rates to SMS dropped now that we receive so many texts?

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