A Comprehensive Guide to SMS Rules and Regulations in the Philippines

5 minutes read - March 10, 2022 - by Yondu Team
SMS works uniquely in every country. If you are an international brand who wants to reach Filipino consumers, you must keep in mind the SMS rules and regulations of the Philippines.

The Philippines is considered the Text Capital of the World due to the growing volume of SMS exchange traffic every year.

In relation to this, 82.3 million Filipinos own mobile gadgets according to Statista. The number is expected to grow to 90 million by 2025.

SMS indeed has played a vital role in many brands’ marketing strategies for almost three decades. 

After all, it still proves its effectiveness as a communication medium. It still boasts its 98% open rate and 48% response rate. 

It is no longer surprising that many brands maximize SMS as their marketing tool.

In fact, not only the local brands are utilizing SMS. Even international brands want to penetrate the market by reaching Filipino customers.

Given the fame SMS attained, the country became strict in implementing specific standards for SMS communication because of what happened in 2009.


Brief History: Banning of ‘Push Messages’ in the Philippines

In 2009, the National Telecommunications Commission received numerous complaints by citizens receiving ‘Push Messages’ or ‘Text Spam’.

‘Push Messages’ or ‘Text Spam’ are SMS messages sent to users without their consent, such as promotional advertisements and other forms of offerings.

NTC banned service providers from sending unwarranted messages containing promotional advertisements, surveys, and other offerings to address the issue.

Under Memorandum Circular No. 04-07-2009:

Content and/or information providers shall not be allowed to send and/or initiate push messages.

However, users may still receive messages only upon their prior consent. Brands are highly encouraged to explain the terms of their marketing campaigns, so users may clearly understand why they are opting in.

Given this, it’s essential to know how SMS works specifically in the Philippines to ensure that your message will reach your target Filipino customers. 

4 Basic SMS Rules and Regulations in the Philippines You Need to Know

If you are an international brand that wants to reach Filipino customers through SMS, you should take note of the country’s rules and regulations. 

We have rounded up important rules to serve as your guidelines:

1. Use a Sender ID.

Sender ID, also known as Sender Name, Sender Mask, AlphaMask, refers to the name or number identifying a text message sender. 

Depending on the country, Sender IDs have different formats. 

To ensure delivery of SMS in the Philippines, your Sender ID must not have the words “TEST”, “MESSAGE”, and “SMS” unless approved through the Sender ID approval form. 

If your Sender ID has more than five numeric characters, it must undergo approval through the Sender ID approval form. 

Sender IDs that explicitly portray specific mobile networks, along with all of their permutations, are not allowed. 

Local Long Code and international numbers without local registration and numeric Sender IDs are strictly not allowed. 

Yondu’s SMS solution strictly follows these rules to ensure compliance. Specifically, it does not allow Sender IDs that:

  • Misrepresent product/services/brand
  • Infringe the copyright of other individuals/entities/brands 
  • Convey or reflect any malicious or unlawful intent
  • Reflect or include any spam/abuse/illegal activity

You must create a sender ID only when representing an individual/brand/entity. 

2. Be wary of your content.

We all know that SMS is composed of 160 characters only even in the international scene. 

Given this, brands should be wise in their content creation because aside from limited length, SMS in the Philippines only supports select characters. The officially supported ones are: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz % & ‘ ( ) * + – . / : ; ! ” # < = > ? $ @ 0123456789.

Adult content or any SMS content promoting nudity, profanity, and violence are strictly prohibited. 

Also, any content promoting alcohol, drugs, gambling, or tobacco is not allowed and is considered spam.

Likewise, any SMS content promoting a candidate for election is not allowed.

3. Make sure you have permission.

Opt-in refers to customers agreeing to be part of a specific list to receive direct marketing through SMS. 

Brands can send to the said list as long as customers subscribe. Brands should explicitly explain the terms of the marketing campaign to users before they opt in.

4. Optimize your time of sending messages.

As a general rule of thumb, you have to send your message during office hours. Specifically, broadcast messages shall not be sent between 9 pm to 7 am, according to the Philippine law. 

Of course, those who paid subscription messages are exempted.

5 Best Practices to Remember When Sending an SMS in the Philippines

Included in the rules or not, a brand should practice simple etiquette to win the trust of the customers. Here are our suggested best practices:

1. Ask for permission from consumers.

Remember that nobody wants to receive a message they did not ask for. Getting permission lowers the chances of customers opting out.

2. Do not forget to mention who you are.

Introducing who you are or what brand you are establishes trust and builds credibility towards your customers.

3. Add value to your message.

Your message should not include random content. It should comprise messages related to your brand and other promotions.

4. Include only one call to action.

You should stick to only one call to action to avoid confusion. It helps customers to focus on only one response.

5. Partner with a local SMS aggregator.

Entrusting your SMS to a local SMS aggregator ensures optimal delivery. It also greatly helps with full compliance with the SMS rules of the Philippines.

An SMS aggregator takes care of all the stuff for your brand to reach local customers.

Wrapping Up

Complying with the rules and regulations of SMS in the Philippines ensures optimal delivery and compliance.

Above all, it helps you build a good relationship your potential clients.

The great news is that Yondu Inc., a leading IT company in the Philippines, offers SMS aggregation services.

Let your brand maximize its reach and engagement and connect with Filipino clients. If you’re on the lookout for a reliable SMS aggregator in the Philippines, send us a message NOW.

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