160 is the max character limit in a SMS message. SMS character limit is the maximum number of characters allowed when composing and sending text messages through SMS. This is made of up 160 characters from the 7-bit standard characters. If you use characters not included in the list, the character limit also diminishes.

It’s a mystery why the fixed character limit is 160, but most experts agree that it was made with space efficiency in mind. A number of theories have been developed to explain why there’s a limit in the first place.

The 160 character limit for a text message evolved as the way that we communicate changed over time. Today, this is still used and is a standard number worldwide.

Let’s learn more about the SMS character limit and how it came to be.

History Behind SMS Message Length

History Behind SMS Message Length

The history behind SMS message length has been defined in the 1985 GSM protocol where it is limited to 160 seven-bit characters only. It was designed to “fit in between” protocol signals, and subsequently, it was codified into the SMPP signaling protocol. This 160 seven-bit character uses 140 bytes or 1120 bits; however, if one would use special characters or Latin scrips, it may go beyond the 160 character count and charge you more per message sent.

The inventor behind the text message, Friedhelm Hillebrand, typed out various sentences and questions on a sheet of paper. Later on, he counted the number of characters such as the letters, punctuations, spaces and numbers on each blurb. Most of it used up the entire 160-character limit. But Hillebrand was not so keen on his invention being limited to 160 characters. He wanted it to be more like a short newspaper article where one could read the piece in its entirety with just one click and without any hassle.

Why is There a 160 Character Text Limit?

There is a 160 character text limit to SMS messages because they are transmitted over a narrow channel, and the protocol is specified by seven bits that can support 160 characters. In addition, the GSM protocol was designed to prevent transmission errors. It does that by imposing a limit on message length and a maximum number of digits allowed in an SMS address.

With this SMS length limit, message senders are forced to be concise and brief with their messages. Users can save on their monthly fees when they use fewer characters.

Is It Possible to Send SMS with More Than 160 Characters?

Yes, it is now possible to send text messages using more than 160 characters. However, because SMS messages are encoded, messages with more than 160 characters are split into parts. Either that or the message is not received at all. Depending on the carrier, one can either receive most of the message or no part at all.

There are two ways to send text messages longer than 160 characters:

  • 1) Sending an SMS via MMS – You can send MMS messages up to a maximum of 4000 characters.
  • 2) Using SMS gateway – Several web-based services allow you to compose and send long (over 160 characters) texts via their website. Due to the way these internet sites format your text message, they may sometimes produce an error on some carriers, further affecting the message’s readability.

However, despite these limitations with sending text messages that are longer than 160 characters, users can still send a vast number of messages as data is not expensive in most cases. You should be able to afford it without worrying about your monthly budget.

How Can You Increase SMS Character Limit?

Increase SMS Character Limit

You can increase the SMS character limit by using an SMS gateway. The software used in this kind of sending is either on the carrier or network provider’s side, and it will reassemble the message (split into parts if needed) and deliver it to the recipient in one piece.

The text limit for an individual SMS is 160 characters; however, most modern devices and networks support concatenation. They segment messages up to 1600 characters in length but only 70-character long messages can be sent using GSM-7 encoding.

When you send a text message over 160 characters, the message will be split into 153 character segments. The segment with more than 153 characters is then sent as two messages separately and later reassembled by their recipient’s device to form one long text.

What Happens If a Text Message is Too Long?

If a text message is too long, or when a message you send is longer than the limit, your phone will split it into multiple messages. These messages are a single chain and may arrive in any order. Your mobile carrier and the person or system receiving the messages will see them as individual, separate messages.

The technical limitations of the SMS protocol are the main reason why a 160 character limit is set for text messages. With that limit, each message can be sent as one uninterrupted unit with an error-free transmission. This will greatly enhance efficiency and productivity in every field of communication.

It is important to remember these factors when sending long texts via SMS:

  • – If the message you are sending is over 160 characters long, it will be split into 153 character segments by your sender’s device.
  • – The first segment of a 153 character (over 160) long message can have up to 70 characters, while all following segments should have no more than 63 characters each.

What is SMS Length Calculator?

The SMS length calculator is a tool that allows you to determine how many characters are left when you type your message into the text box. It can also calculate the resulting size of an image file and add it to your message’s 160 character count. This helps avoid sending messages with too much data, resulting in a message that is too long.

It is a great tool to use if you want to save some money and send a text message that satisfies both the character limit requirements (160) and the data transfer allowance (140K).

Sending more than 160 characters is not a problem when your message is mostly composed of texts. The main issue lies with the format and data of your message or pictures you are including; therefore, it is best to check with your mobile service provider before sending images in bulk.

Which Characters Use Up 2 Spaces in SMS?

The following symbols or characters are used in messaging and are worth two spaces when included in your SMS:

  • ¡ (Inverted Exclamation Point)
  • é (Currency Symbols)
  • ‘ (Acute Accent)
  • ç (Latin Small Letter C with Cedilla)
  • ñ (Latin Small Letter N with Tilde)
  • ß (Greek Small Letter Sharp S)
  • ¿ (Inverted Question Mark)
  • × (Multiply Sign)

Using special characters in text messages may result in using two or more spaces. For example, the symbol “â” takes two spaces in an SMS. You may also encounter problems when sending texts with double letters or symbols and others that use more than one space.

These characters use up more spaces because they are not supported by the GSM-7 standard. They are converted into their corresponding number of spaces when sent on mobile devices.

Is There a Limit for Sending SMS per Day?


There is no set limit for sending text messages per day. The rule of thumb is that you should not exceed your mobile phone plan’s transfer limits, but if your plan allows it, there are no restrictions on the number of texts you may send in a day.

Limitations on the number of SMS rely on the limitations set by your mobile service provider. For instance, you are paying $99 for your phone’s monthly service, and it allocates 200 text messages for the month. If you use them all up in a day, then you have already reached your limits.

In addition to that, you should also consider the limitations set by your device. For example, if your phone has a small memory and limited text capacity, sending more than 20 messages per day can be counterproductive.

What is the SMS limit per day?

The SMS limit per day per mobile user can range from 50 to 1000 messages per day. It can be more than this range, but it still depends on the service plan that you use.

However, third party bulk text message providers don’t have a limit per day.

It’s important to know how many texts you can send in 24 hours. Otherwise, you will be forced to pay for exceeding your mobile plan’s allotted SMS character limit.

This question is not easily answered, and the mobile services provider should always address it before sending more than a certain number of messages per day. It also depends on how much bandwidth (transfer) is available in their network and how they manage this bandwidth.

Some mobile service providers allow their users to send a limited number of SMS messages inside and outside the network. If you stay within this limit, you will not have to worry about exceeding your plan’s bandwidth because it is only a temporary allowance. 

How Can You Send Bulk SMS without Limit?

You can send Bulk SMS without a character limit by using a bulk text messaging service provider. Massive SMS is one such service that allows users to customize their messages based on recipients’ geographic area, age, or gender.

The service provider can send texts from multiple phones simultaneously, thus bypassing any limit set by your mobile services provider.

Massive SMS makes it possible for its users to communicate with their subscribers via a single bulk text messaging platform. This eliminates the need to have several devices or GSM numbers for sending texts.

In addition to that, the user is also able to send content through a bulk messaging platform. For instance, if you want to let your team members or employees know of an emergency meeting, you can simply send them text messages containing the time and location.

The ability to send longer SMS is beneficial because it allows marketers and business owners to communicate with their clients in a more engaging way.

By incorporating web links, multimedia content, and other types of information into their texts, they can convert these messages into powerful marketing tools.

Does MMS Have any Character Limit?

Unlike SMS, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) does not have a character limit. Hence, there is no fear of exceeding the number of characters used for sending multimedia content.

In fact, when sending messages with multimedia content, the length of the message and time of transmission is more important than the actual number of characters in the text.

The most common problem with MMS is that it takes longer to send and receive messages. This is because of the size of the multimedia content.

For instance, a 20 MB video may take hours to send over a 2G network. However, if your device has 3G capability, you can expect the video to be sent in less than a minute.

A general MMS message is about 1 MB in size, so the delivery costs of multimedia content will probably be higher than sending text messages. Thus, you need to think twice before sending any multimedia messages, especially if you’re on a limited data plan.

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