For nearly 20 years, we've helped companies around the world improve communications while reducing costs with cloud-based voice solutions. Now, we want to help companies reduce costs with business texting. This SMS software pricing guide was last updated in November 2019.
Many businesses use business texting services to reduce communication costs and improve marketing efforts. However, combing through dozens of providers to find the best SMS software pricing can be tough. We want you to get the best-priced SMS service for your specific needs. And because no one company can be the right fit for everyone, we know that may mean pointing you to another provider - and we're fine with that! If we aren't the right SMS service for you, we'll still help you find the best alternative.
For a proper business texting service price comparison, you'll need to consider your monthly cost per SMS number, inbound and outbound text message rates, and the total cost of add-on features and setup fees.
Types of Business Texting Services
SMS marketing is an easy way for companies to stay in touch with your client base - or to try to attract new customers. Companies will implement SMS marketing for various campaigns, whether it be sending promotions to existing customers, offer giveaways, or can be used to poll customers. Here are some more things you can do utilizing SMS marketing:
- Send discount codes
- Renewal reminders
- Appointment reminders
- Drip campaigns
- Invitations to local events
There are a few different kinds of text message services we will look at today - VoIP SMS services and SMS marketing platforms.
VoIP SMS Services
VoIP SMS generally refers to a text message forwarding from a virtual SMS number. These types of services allow you to forward text messages to your email, and some even allow you to respond as well. These services are typically simpler services that have affordable options, making them great for smaller businesses and those that don't necessarily have complex SMS marketing needs.
SMS Marketing Platforms
SMS marketing services is typically software that revolves around SMS messaging. These are very robust in their feature set that includes advanced features such as bulk SMS, link tracking, and shortcodes. These types of features allow you to send massive quantities of messages in a short time, track clicks and engagement on links you send, and allow customers to respond with a keyword to opt into a campaign. We'll go more in-depth on these below.
SMS Software Pricing
Much like voice services, your SMS service pricing will depend on how many numbers you need, your expected message volume, and any advanced features you may need. Typically, VoIP SMS tends to be more affordable when compared to SMS marketing platforms, as they are more basic and don't have "all the bells and whistles". There are a few advanced features that you would want to consider when looking for an SMS service provider.
Finally, you need to consider what type of plans the SMS service providers offer. Some may offer unlimited incoming messages, bundled packages for inbound and outbound messaging, or pay-per-message options.
Common VoIP SMS Pricing Structures
When shopping around for a VoIP SMS service package, you will likely have a few different options to choose from. You can buy a package of monthly SMS messages with a per-message rate for overages or pay as you go type plans. They may even offer unlimited inbound messaging (and maybe even outbound, too!). While we don't go into details of voice rates in this post, that is also something you should consider if you chose to go this route and expect some voice traffic.
Common SMS Marketing Platform Pricing Plans
Usually, SMS marketing services will also offer a variety of plans for you to choose from, from a few hundred messages per month to tens of thousands. They may even offer a per-message rate, which will likely be quite low since you may have an extremely high volume of traffic. They are also more likely to offer advanced features, such as bulk SMS, keyword tracking, shortcodes, and access to APIs.
Shortcode and keywords refer to when you have a string of numbers (like 53883) and a keyword (like BURGER), and customers can message that number to opt-in for a particular promotion. Shortcodes and keywords will typically carry an additional fee (but there are some plans that offer unlimited keywords). Bulk SMS allows you to send thousands of messages to a list all at once, allowing you to get information out at an extremely fast rate.
Link tracking allows you to track how much engagement your messages receive if there is a link in them. This is a great way to test different messaging to see which one gets customers to click. Extended messaging gives you the ability to send longer messages that might include more information, without having to break it up into two messages. If a provider offers these, it may cost a little extra compared to a regular SMS message. MMS messaging refers to sending picture messages to your customers. This almost always carries an additional fee. For the more advanced platforms, they may give you access to API (application programming interface), which makes it easier for developers to build things using that software.
How Much Does VoIP SMS Cost?
For VoIP SMS services, we'll look at the providers who offer business texting as an add-on feature with virtual phone numbers. VoIP SMS services generally include simple business texting features and aren't meant to be used as an advanced SMS marketing platform. The providers we will look at that fall under this category include AVOXI, GlobalCallForwarding, and RingCentral.
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RingCentral SMS Pricing
Founded in 2003, RingCentral is a provider of cloud enterprise communications and collaboration solutions. RingCentral provides solutions for voice, video, team messaging, SMS, conferencing, and contact centers. Though plans are a bit more expensive than the other VoIP SMS providers mentioned, plans include more advanced features, as well as unlimited SMS messaging.
Some of their features include:
- Unlimited SMS messaging
- Send SMS messages with up to 1,000 characters
- Send and receive MMS messages
- Spam blocklists
- International SMS (US and Canada only)
Unlimited SMS packages through RingCentral are priced as follows:
- Essentials: $29.99 per month
- Standard: $34.99 per month
- Premium: $44.99 per month
- Ultimate: $59.99 per month
AVOXI SMS Pricing
AVOXI is a cloud contact center and virtual number provider that offers virtual phone numbers in 160+ countries, and most recently, virtual SMS in the United States! You can choose from both toll free and local phone numbers, and add on VoIP SMS for an additional monthly fee. The SMS product AVOXI offers forwards incoming text messages to your business email address, and allows you to respond via your email! Simply reply to the email and your customers will receive it as a text message!
Virtual numbers from AVOXI typically range from $4.49 - $70.99, with some more premium area codes carrying a higher monthly charge (such as New York 212 numbers). After choosing your virtual number, you can add on virtual SMS. AVOXI offers 6 different plans for virtual SMS:
- Classic: $1.99 per month, pay as you go ($0.065 per message)
- Basic: $5.99 per month, 100 messages included ($0.06 per additional message)
- Connect: $10.99 per month, 200 messages included ($0.055 per additional message)
- Standard: $24.99 per month, 500 messages included ($0.05 per additional message)
- Advanced: $48.99 per month, 1500 messages included ($0.04 per additional message)
- Premium: $128.99 per month, 5000 messages included ($0.03 per additional message)
GlobalCallForwarding SMS Pricing
Much like AVOXI, GlobalCallForwarding offers virtual SMS forwarding to your business email. Though the process is almost the exact same as AVOXI, there are a few key differences in the two. GlobalCallForwarding does not offer outbound SMS, so customers are only able to text you, not vice versa. Also, GlobalCallForwarding offers virtual SMS in more countries than AVOXI - 21 to be exact.
Like AVOXI, you can add on virtual SMS to virtual numbers with GlobalCallForwarding. Their virtual number packages range from $7.95 - $1,000 + per month, depending on which country you get a number in. Though the price of numbers may change, the pricing on their inbound virtual SMS service stays the same. They offer five different plans to add on to your virtual phone number:
- Starter: $5.95 per month, 100 messages included ($0.06 per additional message)
- Smart: $24.95 per month, 500 messages included ($0.05 per additional message)
- Professional: $48.95 per month, 1500 messages included ($0.05 per additional message)
- Professional Plus: $128.95 per month, 5000 messages included ($0.03 per additional message)
- Business: $198.95 per month, 10000 messages included ($0.02 per additional message)
How Much Do SMS Marketing Platforms Cost?
SMS marketing platforms, like the previously mentioned virtual number SMS services, provide essentially the same service, but focus much more heavily on their SMS product. We will go over the pricing and features of these providers: Avochato, SimpleTexting, SlickText and Nexmo.
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*Nexmo only offers per message rates, plus $1 per month for a virtual phone number
Avochato is a virtual SMS platform that offers teams the ability to easily send and receive messages with your customers. Offering features that benefit support, operations, as well as sales teams, Avochato likely has a plan your company will love. Additionally, they offer some voice capabilities (although they focus on their virtual SMS product) so your team can stay in touch regardless of the customer's preferred method of communication. They don't make it clear how calls are billed, so it's best to reach out to them directly if you have questions about this feature.
They offer three different plans: Core, Standard, and Pro:
- Core: $99 per month
- 2500 messages included
- 1 phone number
- Unlimited contacts
- Unlimited keywords
- Slack integration
- Standard: $199 per month
- 5000 messages included
- 3 phone numbers
- Unlimited contacts
- Unlimited keywords
- Slack, Desk.com, Zapier integrations
- Pro: $399 per month
- 10000 messages included
- 10 phone numbers
- Unlimited contacts
- Unlimited keywords
- Slack, Desk.com, Zapier integrations
- Full API access
Avochato also offers shortcode message access, but you will have to reach out to them directly to get pricing information.
SimpleTexting is a popular virtual SMS platform that offers a highly user-friendly interface making it easy to stay connected with your customers. Of all the virtual SMS providers reviewed, SimpleTexting offers the most robust feature set when it comes to sending and receiving messages. Some of their most popular features included in all plans are mass texting (bulk SMS), autoresponders, data collection, link tracking, text to win/text to vote, extended messaging plus many more great features! They also offer dedicated shortcodes, which are great for some marketing campaigns.
Not only does SimpleTexting offer a great suite of features, but they also offer many different plans for your business to choose from. All plans include free incoming SMS messages, 1 virtual number, shortcode access, unlimited keywords, rollover credits, and more. Their pricing is as follows:
- 500 messages: $25 per month
- 1000 messages: $45 per month
- 2000 messages: $75 per month
- 3000 messages: $95 per month
- 7500 messages: $145 per month
- 25000 messages: $375 per month
- 50000 messages: $625 per month
- More than 50000 messages: Contact sales for a quote
SlickText is very similar to SimpleTexting, where they focus solely on their VoIP SMS product. They, like SimpleTexting, offer a very strong suite of features, so you can get the most out of your SMS marketing campaigns. SlickText offers mass text messaging, text message blasts, shortcode texting, MMS marketing, and text to landline.
All features are included in their paid plans. Some of their popular features include mass texting, text message scheduling, 2 way messaging, text to win, MMS, drip campaigns, extended messaging, link shortening, link tracking and many more! In order to truly understand what they offer, it's best to reach out to them directly to see how well they could fit your business.
SlickText offers 5 basic virtual SMS plans:
- The Freebie: 50 messages per month, 1 textword*
- The Basic: $29 per month, 500 messages per month, 2 textwords
- The Step Up: $49 per month, 1000 messages per month, 4 textwords
- The Lil Bro: $79 per month, 2000 messages per month, 6 textwords
- The Big Bro: $139 per month, 3600 messages per month, 8 textwords
*Textwords is the same as a keyword, i.e text BURGER to 55944
They also have additional larger plans for higher volume customers:
- The Boss: $189 per month, 5000 messages per month, 14 textwords
- The Albatross: $350 per month, 10000 messages per month, 16 textwords
- The Whale: $750 per month, 25000 messages per month, 20 textwords
- The Monstro: $1250 per month, 50000 messages per month, 30 textwords
Nexmo is a little different than AVOXI and GlobalCallForwarding, but still is in "the same ballpark". Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform, doesn't offer bundled plans for the SMS enabled numbers, but instead charges a very low per-message rate. They also carry a very low monthly charge for renting a virtual phone number. Although they do not offer bundled plans, they do offer shortcodes, unlike the other two virtual number SMS providers.
Their pricing is as follows:
- Virtual (local) number rental: $1.00 per month
- Toll free number rental: $1.94 per month
- Send a message (in the United States): $0.0069 per message
- Receive a message (in the United States): $0.0063 per message
- Shared shortcode: Free
- Random (dedicated) shortcode: $1000 per month
- Vanity (dedicated) shortcode: $1500 per month
We hope that you found this virtual SMS guide helpful! While there are a lot of options on the market today, we believe these are some of your best choices. By properly evaluating if you need a virtual number SMS service or a dedicated virtual SMS platform, you can rest assured any of these providers will get the job done.
If you feel as if we overlooked a provider, please reach out! We are always updating our content and would be happy to include any provider. If you're interested in learning more about VoIP SMS, feel free to visit our business texting product page.