User Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: May 11, 2015 09:35PM PDT

Can people use my SMS service if they don't have an Android phone?

Yes, your users can use any mobile phone to communicate with your SMS service. Their mobile phone doesn’t have to be an Android, smartphone, or even have internet access.

Can people use my SMS service if they don't have internet access?

Yes, your users can use your SMS service even if they don't have internet access.

When using an Android phone as an SMS gateway, you will only need internet access for your own Android phone.

Which Android phones can be used as a SMS gateway with Telerivet?

Any phone with Android 2.1 or higher (over 99% of Android phones) can be used as an SMS gateway with Telerivet. Any Android phone purchased recently should be compatible.

Most Android tablets work too, as long as they have a SIM card.

Which Android phones do you recommend using as a SMS gateway?

It depends on which Android phones are available for sale in your area. It isn't necessary to spend a lot of money on a cutting-edge phone with high performance. In many countries, the most affordable Android phones can typically be purchased for less than $100.

However, some of the most inexpensive Android phones often have unreliable hardware, which can result in the phone unexpectedly powering off or losing internet connectivity.

Generally the most well-known global Android brands such as Samsung, LG, and Motorola have a good track record with Telerivet. Alternatively, low-cost brands such as Huawei are frequently chosen by Telerivet users, but seem to have more frequent issues with reliability especially when being used 24/7.

If you are deploying the Android phone in a location with inconsistent electrical power, the most relevant specification is battery life. With longer battery life, your phone will be able to stay in operation longer during power outages - assuming the mobile data network is still available. Often, inexpensive phones have better battery life than the newest high-performance phones.

Does Telerivet support dual SIM phones?

Telerivet only partially supports dual SIM phones. Telerivet can receive messages on both SIMs but will not be able to tell which SIM the message was received on, and it will only send messages through the primary SIM.

If you need to send and receive messages through multiple SIMs we recommend using two separate Android phones.

How much does it cost per message to send SMS via the Telerivet Android app?

When using the Telerivet Android app, your mobile network will charge you the same amount per message that they normally charge when you send SMS directly from your phone. If your phone is subscribed to an unlimited texting plan or a promotional bundle, the Telerivet app will be able to use that too.

Telerivet does not charge you per message, although your Telerivet account has a maximum limit on the number of messages per day depending on your service plan.

What maintenance is required to keep the Android phone working?

When you deploy your SMS service using an Android phone, you just need to ensure that the Android phone:

  • Is powered on
  • Can access the internet
  • Has credit to send messages
  • Is not stolen

For more detailed recommendations on how to make your SMS service as reliable as possible, see the Android Maintenance Instructions.

Where do you recommend keeping the Android phone?

In order to maximize the reliability of your Telerivet service, we recommend keeping the Android phone stationary and plugged in to power. An office is an ideal location.

You may wish to store the phone in a locked drawer or cabinet to reduce the risk of theft.

How do you recommend setting up internet for the Android phone?

We recommend configuring the phone to connect to a Wi-Fi network as the main method of internet connectivity, but to also set up a mobile data plan as backup.

Setting up both Wi-Fi and mobile data improves the reliability of your service through power or internet outages. If the power goes out, or if your Wi-Fi network is not working, your phone will automatically switch over to the mobile data network.

Can my messages show up on user phones with a custom name instead of a phone number?

No, it is not possible to change your Android phone's SMS Sender ID. Changing the SMS Sender ID would prevent people from replying to your messages. All outgoing messages from your Android phone will appear on user phones with your phone number.

Of course, you can include the name of your organization or service within the SMS messages that you send. You can also ask your users to add your phone number to their phone's address book so that future messages from your service will appear with your name, and so they can easily send you messages.

Can I use the Android phone with Telerivet as my own mobile phone?

We recommend that you keep this phone stationary, instead of using it as a regular mobile phone.

The phone needs an internet connection in order to relay messages to or from Telerivet.com, and your internet connection is likely to be unreliable if you are moving around with the phone. Also, the Telerivet app will reduce the time that your phone can operate on battery power.

It may be helpful to stop thinking of the phone you use for Telerivet as a mobile phone, and instead think of it as a ~$100 dedicated device that allows you to have an SMS gateway.

However, you can still use this phone as a stationary phone (e.g. an office phone), and use it to make and receive calls while the Telerivet app is running.

How fast can Telerivet send and receive SMS messages? 

The rate at which Telerivet can send and receive messages depends on several factors, including your phone, your network, and the length of the SMS messages you're sending.

When sending SMS messages through an Android phone, Telerivet can typically send 12 to 25 messages per minute, or about 1,000 messages per hour. When receiving incoming SMS messages through an Android phone, Telerivet can typically receive about 100 messages per minute, or about 6,000 messages per hour.

If you need to send messages faster, you can connect multiple Android phones to Telerivet. For example, if you connected five Android phones to Telerivet, you would be able to send up to about 5,000 messages per hour or receive around 30,000 messages per hour.

Be aware that each mobile network may have their own limits and rules to block bulk unsolicited ("SPAM") text messages. If your Android phone sends too many messages to too many different users in a short period of time, the mobile network may block your Android phone without warning. If you plan to send SMS messages at a high rate, you may wish to contact your mobile network to inquire about their usage limits.

Telerivet also supports Twilio, which would enable you to send messages at higher rates from phone numbers and shortcodes in the U.S. (+1), U.K. (+44), and a few other countries, without using an Android phone.

How long will my Android phone keep working if the power goes out?

Telerivet is optimized to work in locations with unreliable electricity. The Telerivet app uses a very small amount of battery, so that your SMS service will continue working for the longest time possible after the power goes out - as long as the mobile phone and data networks are still working.

Battery life varies depending on your phone, as well as the number of messages you send and receive, but a typical Android phone should be able to run the Telerivet app for up to 2 days without electricity.

In our testing, our LG GT540 was able to run continuously on battery for 6 days and 15 hours while connected to a 2G data network (without sending or receiving messages).

How much data does Telerivet send over the Android phone's internet connection?

The Telerivet app sends or receives approximately 25 KB per hour (600 KB per day) over the phone's internet connection, plus about 3 KB for each incoming message and 4 KB for each outgoing message. Incoming MMS messages use additional data, which vary depending on the size of the multimedia files.

Even when the Android phone is connected to the mobile data network, Telerivet's data usage is very inexpensive. For example, an SMS service in Tanzania that receives an average of 100 SMS messages and sends 100 replies each day would use approximately 40 MB of data per month, which would cost 2,000 Tsh ($1.25) from Vodacom.



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