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What is P2p SMS?

P2P or person-to-person SMS are texts sent between individuals. Messages are sent directly from one person to another as texts, using a mobile phone with a sim card.

P2P SMS is also known as peer-to-peer messaging and is not to be confused with A2P messaging where a business sends a text from a system or application.

P2P messages are typically sent between friends and family and are normally conversational in nature.

These are not commercial or marketing texts. sent from a business. Texts that are sent from an individual to an organisation are know as MO SMS messages.

P2P text messages can normally be sent and received internationally where the mobile user has an international tariff in place with their mobile network.

What’s the difference between P2P and A2P SMS messaging?

P2P (person to person) messaging is where individuals are sending texts to each other from one mobile to another. 

A2P (application to person) messages are sent from software or a system, usually from a business to an individual.

P2P messaging isn’t restricted to just SMS, it also includes all the other OTT messaging apps like WhatsApp, iMessage etc.

Why is P2P texting still being used?

P2P text messaging is still the only messaging type that every phone ever created can send and receive.

There’s no software or app to install.

Ever since the first text was sent by a Vodafone engineer in 1992, nothing else has quite been able to compete with the simplicity and universality of SMS.

If you need a message to be seen and responded to immediately, then there’s no substitute for SMS.

The numbers of P2P SMS being sent are however in steep decline but SMS has impressive resilience and shows no sign of disappearing just yet.

Is P2P messaging still popular?

Global P2P SMS volumes have been dropping dramatically in recent years as other messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger become more and more popular.

The number of P2P messages sent in the UK hit a peak in 2012 of 150.8 billion. By 2020, this had fallen to 48.7 billion in 2020, a drop of 67%. (Source – Statista)

P2P messages sent in the UK, 2012 – 2020

Chart showing P2P messages sent by year in the UK

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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