Toll-Free numbers verification

Toll-Free numbers verification is currently required in the US and Canada for best delivery. And users who don’t verify, risk being blocked or increasing filtering and daily limits on sending traffic.


All major carriers in the United States and in Canada designate Toll-Free numbers for business messaging use.

Recently, carriers have implemented daily sending limits for unverified toll-free numbers.

As a result, any traffic that exceeds the daily limit or gets filtered for spam will receive an Error 30032 response.

Although carrier filtering is still possible for messages sent from Toll-Free phone numbers; you can significantly reduce the likelihood of filtering if you comply with all rules and regulations, and follow best practices.

Carriers highly recommend verification for all numbers, regardless of volume.

Why verify Toll-Free numbers

Carriers require Toll-Free Messaging Verification as it reduces filtering risk on compliant traffic.

Lately, the enforcement for the 10/1/2022 deadline has changed from failing all Restricted Toll-Free traffic to failing traffic that exceed 2000 messages per day per number.

And, beginning April 1, 2023, these limits will drop to 500 daily / 1,000 weekly / 2,000 monthly. However, Pending Verification status will allow for higher volume limits (2,000 daily / 6,000 weekly / 10,000 monthly); and reduce the chance of filtering while waiting for final carrier approval.

So, Toll-Free Verification reduces the risk of filtering on your message traffic; assuming it is compliant with all applicable rules. Please keep in mind that the Toll-Free traffic verification process can take approximately 2-3 weeks for completion.

Required Information for Toll-Free Verification

  • Customer ID field from end-user

  • Business Name – text field

  • Corporate Website

  • Business Address (include street, city, state, and zip code)

  • Business Compliance Contact (first and last name, email address, phone number)

  • Expected Message Volume

  • Phone number(s) to be verified

  • Use Case Category

  • Description of the Use Case / Summary

  • Production (Sample) Message Content

  • Opt-in Workflow Description (Text – online, text to join, point of sale, etc.)

  • Opt-in Image URLs (URLs separated by semicolon)

  • Additional Supporting Details

  • ISV / Reseller (Highly Recommended)

Kindly forward the above information to so that we can proceed with submitting the verification request on your behalf. Please note that the processing time for the the Toll-Free numbers verification may take approximately 2-3 weeks.


SMS Encoding GSM-7 and UCS-2

In this article, we explain the SMS encoding and explore two common methods: GSM-7 and UCS-2

In the world of SMS messaging, understanding the nuances of GSM-7 and UCS-2 encoding is key to ensuring efficient and cost-effective communication.


When it comes to sending SMS messages, not all characters are created equal.

In fact, the way your text is encoded can greatly impact the number of text segments sent. It also impacts the cost of sending those messages. And even whether or not your recipients can properly receive your messages.

What is SMS Encoding

It refers to the process of converting text characters into a format that can be transmitted over a mobile network. Since SMS messages have limitations in terms of character count, encoding is necessary to ensure that messages are transmitted efficiently.

GSM-7 Encoding

GSM-7 is a widely used encoding standard that allows for the transmission of text messages in a compact form.

It supports a set of 160 characters. It also includes uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and common punctuation marks.

However, not all characters are supported in GSM-7. Some special characters – accented letters – and non-Latin characters are not included in the GSM-7 character set. And they require a different encoding method.

Messages containing only GSM-7 characters can contain up to 160 characters in a single, non-segmented message. GSM-7 messages of more than 160 characters will be split into 153-character segments.

UCS-2 Encoding

UCS-2 is a universal character encoding standard. It can represent almost any character from any writing system in the world.

It uses 16 bits to represent each character, making it capable of encoding a much wider range of characters compared to GSM-7.

And it’s used when messages contain characters that are not supported in GSM-7: such as non-Latin scripts, emoji, or special characters.

Messages with one or more UCS-2 characters can contain up to 70 characters in a single, non-segmented message. UCS-2 messages of more than 70 characters will be split into 67-character segments.

Implications of GSM-7 and UCS-2 Encoding

The choice of encoding can have significant implications for SMS messaging.

When using GSM-7, each character typically takes up one byte of space. This allows for up to 160 characters in a single SMS message.

However, when using UCS-2, each character takes up two bytes, reducing the maximum character count per message to 70.

This means that messages encoded in UCS-2 may be more expensive. They require more space and may be split into multiple messages (segments), resulting in higher costs.

It’s important to note that if a message contains a mix of GSM-7 and UCS-2 characters, the entire message may be automatically encoded in UCS-2.

Tips for Ensuring Correct SMS Encoding

Here are some tips to avoid unexpected message splitting or higher costs due to UCS-2 encoding:

  1. Use GSM-7 encoding whenever possible: Stick to the GSM-7 character set for your messages to maximize the character count and minimize costs.
  2. Be aware of special characters: Special characters, accented letters, and non-Latin characters may not be supported in GSM-7. And they may require UCS-2 encoding.
  3. Test your messages: Use tools or services that allow you to check if your message can be encoded in GSM-7 or if UCS-2.
  4. Be cautious with text editors: Some text editors may automatically add non-GSM-7 characters; such as angled smart quotes or non-standard spaces. Ensure that your text editor is not inadvertently adding characters that may trigger UCS-2 encoding.

Related articles

Understanding SMS text segments and Billing

Increase deliverability of your text messages

Forbidden message categories for SMS

Avoid your texts being marked as SPAM

Things to consider before Bulk Texting

Bulk texting is an aNinja great tool that you use to nurture your leads and keep them updated with your latest campaigns, and offers, and send them reminders. Here are a few things to consider before bulk texting.

Things to consider before bulk texting

Here are a few things you would want to consider/check before sending out your text blast.

  • Phone number to send out the texts

To be able to send texts, you want to have a phone number saved in your aNinja account. Either you buy a new phone number from aNinja or you port your own.

  • Leads phone numbers

If possible, provide a mobile number in the lead’s primary contact to ensure delivery of your message.

  • Text segmentation

When preparing a text template, you want to count the characters you’re adding to this text. A text is composed of 160 characters which is considered one segment. If your text exceeds 160 characters, it will be delivered to the recipients anyhow, but you will be overcharged for all extra segments by your phone carrier.

SMS and MMS are encoded by the carriers in different formats to represent the characters and special characters used in the message.

The default encoding method is GSM-7, which consumes fewer segments, making it more cost-effective.

However, if the text content includes special characters like emojis or backticks, a different encoding method called UCS-2 is used; it consumes more segments, approximately double the amount of GSM-7.

  • Text limit per bulk/per user

According to your Billing plan (only for Advanced and Pro plans), each user can send 2000 SMS per bulk.

If you wish to increase your SMS limit, either:

1- Reach support at and they will bump it up for you, with a one-time charge of 15$ for every additional 1000 SMS per user.

2- Or, enable the auto-recharge for Billing, that automatically recharges your add-ons once your plan included add-ons are hit.

Otherwise, limit your bulk texts to 2000 SMS per bulk by segmenting the contacts in the CSV file before you import it.

MMS messages

MMS stands for ‘multimedia messaging service’. It was built using the same technology as SMS (short message service) text messages.

While SMS was built to send short messages, MMS focuses on sending multimedia messages.

Some of the rich content types which can be sent include phone contacts, audio and video files, and images.

Types of MMS messages

  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Images

Sending MMS through aNinja

  • Search for your lead
  • When on a lead View, click on Text in the toolbar
  • Your phone number is automatically injected next to “From”.
    • If you’re an Admin user, from the dropdown, you can choose the phone number you want to send the text through.

  • The primary phone number is also automatically injected next to “To”.
  • You can either select an available template
    • Then, the content of the template is injected into the body section. And the media file saved in the template is attached to it.
  • Or, you can manually type the message in the body section.
  • Click on the attachment icon and select a file
    • Supported file formats (jpeg, png, and gif)
    • Check the “Supported media types” below.
  • Before you send your text, you want to make sure that the total message size is under the maximum size limit for the channel.
    • Check the “Attachment Limits” section below.
  • Click Send to send your text immediately,
  • Or, click on the arrow next to send to schedule to a later date and time.
  • An MMS can also be sent in bulk text sequences. Attach the media file to the template and use it in the sequences.


Make sure to include content in your template before saving it, not only attachment(s). Otherwise, when attaching it to a text sequence, it will not be launched.

Supported Media Types

Different carriers support different types of media, regardless of the media types allowed in aNinja.

When you send an MMS, the telephone carrier checks the content-type header at the provided MediaURL to validate the content type of the media file. If the content type header does not match that of the media file, the request will be rejected.

You can check the status of the MMS in the lead view, on the bottom right of the message. Hover your mouse over the error to see the message provided by the carrier. Some carriers don’t provide error messages.

The following types of content are fully supported. This content will be formatted for delivery on destination devices.

  • image/jpeg
  • image/jpg
  • image/gif
  • image/png


The following types of content are accepted. Requests will not be rejected, but the content will not be modified for device compatibility.

  • audio/basic
  • audio/L24
  • audio/mp4
  • audio/mpeg
  • audio/ogg
  • audio/vnd.rn-realaudio
  • audio/vnd.wave
  • audio/3gpp
  • audio/3gpp2
  • audio/ac3
  • audio/webm
  • audio/amr-nb
  • audio/amr
  • video/mpeg
  • video/mp4
  • video/quicktime
  • video/webm
  • video/3gpp
  • video/3gpp2
  • video/3gpp-tt
  • video/H261
  • video/H263
  • video/H263-1998
  • video/H263-2000
  • video/H264
  • image/bmp
  • image/tiff
  • text/vcard
  • text/x-vcard
  • text/csv
  • text/rtf
  • text/richtext
  • text/calendar
  • text/directory
  • application/pdf
  • application/vcard
  • application/

Most of the phone carriers support image file attachments in one of the supported file formats (jpeg, png, and gif) and they might not support these types (PDF, BMP, MPEG, MP4, Quicktime, and 3GPP).

Message encoding

Text messages, also known as SMS, are encoded by the carriers in different formats to represent the characters and special characters used in the message.

The default encoding used in SMS is GSM-7, which consumes fewer segments, making it more cost-effective.

However, if the text content includes special characters like emojis or backticks, a different encoding called UCS-2 is used; which consumes more segments, approximately double the amount of GSM-7.

When it comes to MMS, the encoding used can vary depending on the content of the text. It can be either GSM-7 or UCS-2, depending on whether special characters are included in the message or not.

Attachment Limits

When sending text and pictures in the same message (MMS messaging), a message can contain up to 10 images and 1600 characters.

Through aNinja, you can send an MMS of 600KB. If your message (including body text and media) is larger than 600KB, your message request will fail to send.

In aNinja, we have reduced the size of the MMS to 600KB to increase the chances of deliverability. As the top US carriers have recently reduced their allows MMS sizes as follows:

Carrier Short code MMS attachment size
AT&T 600 KB <—- ideal size
Sprint 1400 KB
T-mobile 1000 KB
Verizon 1200 KB

So you want to provide a shorter video that is ideally < 600KB if you want to reach all the targeted audience.

Our carrier automatically compresses JPEG, PNG, or GIF files to reduce their size if they exceed certain thresholds, to help you fit more images on your message when needed.

Hence, there will not be any additional charges applied for the message body. It will be included in the MMS cost.

If your media is not an image file and is larger than the limit allowed by the destination carrier, your MMS message will fail.

You can always compress the size of your media file using tools online.

Lastly, we recommend hosting your media file on your website or a file hosting service and adding the link to download it in your template or text call to action.