The differences between Australia and New Zealand – in the world of business SMS

Topic: Did you know, International Messaging, Uses of SMS

Australia and New Zealand share a lot of similarities, though not every similarity is well received! In the world of business SMS, however, there are quite a few differences between how things operate in the two countries.

Receiving SMS: Virtual Mobile Number vs Short Code

This is probably the most commonly asked question. In Australia, if businesses want to receive SMS replies from customers, they can apply for a Virtual Mobile Number (VMN). A VMN is essentially the same as a mobile number, only it is to be used to receive SMS replies and could not be used for phone calls. There are SMS providers providing shared VMNs for various businesses, but at Esendex our VMNs are all dedicated, meaning only your business uses the Virtual Mobile Number, until you decide otherwise. As such, you can widely share the VMN with your staff members and customers, use it for your day-to-day communications or for marketing, knowing that only you have access to all the replies.

New Zealand operates a little bit differently. Instead of Virtual Mobile Numbers, they use SMS Short Codes. An SMS short code is a 3 to 6 digit number that businesses can use to receive SMS replies. There are two types of SMS Short Codes – Shared and Dedicated. Shared Short Codes, as the name suggests, are shared by multiple businesses, but our built-in feature enables replies to go to the business who last sent the SMS. A Dedicated Short Code is a unique short code that is exclusive to your business, and therefore, no keyword is required when replying to this number.

Dedicated or shared short code?

Whether a dedicated or shared short code is right for you will depend on the nature and purpose of your communications. For example, if you wanted to use the short code to receive replies from customers or staff about their next appointment or next shift, then a shared short code would be ideal as a response is expected. If you are doing marketing and promotions, a dedicated short code would be much preferred as a form of opt-in where the customers are required to initiate contact. 

Alphanumeric Sender ID

For those of you who are residing in Australia, you’ll be familiar with the Alphanumeric Sender ID. When you receive SMS that has a company name or brand name instead of a mobile number, that’s because they have set a Sender ID. New Zealand, on the other hand, does not support Sender IDs. All text messages received in New Zealand will come from a short code.

One thing to note about Sender ID is that its availability depends on the destination of your messages. That means you can set up a Sender ID from the SMS platform for all your text messages, and if the destination is countries that support Sender ID like Australia, it will be displayed. But for countries like New Zealand, the Sender ID will be overwritten by the short code automatically.  It’s also worth noting that in some countries, the use of Sender ID requires pre-registration and in some cases they are restricted for transactional messages only.

It is always best to check with your SMS provider if you are considering using Sender ID for your international messaging campaign. If you’d like to know more about the differences between Australia and New Zealand when doing SMS campaigns, or would like to know more about sending messages in various countries, then speak to an Esendex expert!


Author Avatar
Prachi Bametha

Marketing Coordinator, Esendex Australia