Each type of "phone" enables Telerivet to connect to mobile networks to send and (usually) receive messages, but different types of phones have different capabilities, geographic reach, and cost, and may be best suited for certain message volumes or specific types of content:
- Android phones work in any country and are suitable for sending up to a few thousand messages per day (per Android phone). Many mobile networks offer discounted SMS bundles that make this the most affordable way to send messages. However, it requires an up-front investment to purchase an Android phone, as well as ongoing maintenance to keep the Android phone charged, connected to the internet, and (for prepaid users) topped up with credit to send messages.
- Virtual numbers are convenient and do not require a large up-front investment or ongoing maintenance, and are also typically suitable for sending up to a few thousand messages per day. However, virtual numbers are not available in every country, and some mobile networks are more aggressive about blocking/filtering messages from virtual numbers that send certain types of content or more than a certain volume of messages.
- SMS shortcodes are suitable for organizations sending or receiving several thousand messages per day or more. However, they require a very high up-front investment (over $1000), and can often take months to set up.
- Alphanumeric sender IDs make SMS messages appear to originate from your organization's name, instead of a phone number. However, recipients cannot reply to your messages because there is no phone number; and some mobile networks block/filter messages or change the sender ID.