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Is Premium SMS still available?

What is premium SMS?

Premium SMS services involves sending a text to a short-code ‘premium’ number, in order to access content and services offered by third-party companies other than your phone provider. This access comes at an additional cost to the user, which is billed to the individual’s mobile phone plan. Premium SMS is commonly used as a way for people to participate in Television (TV) competitions, promotions, and live voting and is set at a cost of $0.55 per message.

A great example is the longstanding, Aussie favourite Sunrise Cash Cow competition that Sunrise and Ansible have partnered on since 2006. Each day viewers would enter via premium SMS where they would text their name, address and a codeword to 1977 7077 and be charged $0.55 for each message.



Often for events or programmes which were linked with charities, premium SMS was a great mechanic to use as generated revenue via the $0.55 tariff which would then be donated to the selected charity. Think I’m A Celebrity.. Get Me Out of Here! Voting, where the revenue generated is donated to the celebrity crowned King/Queen of the Jungle.



What’s changed?

From 15 December 2021, Telstra no longer allow SMS & calls to premium numbers (e.g. 19xx numbers). This is also known as Premium SMS. Learn more about the changes on their website. With Telstra being one of the main providers in Australia, this has meant that a huge portion of Aussies are now unable to access premium SMS based competitions – forcing competition providers to stop using the mechanic.


What now?

We know that Aussies love SMS, with 1 in 5 Aussies having entered an Ansible SMS competition. It boasts an open rate of 98% which is unmissable for brands wanting to engage their audience. Despite premium SMS being no longer in the picture, you can still meet your audience on their platform of choice and use standard SMS instead.

The key differences:

- The user will be texting a long code number e.g. ‘04XX XXX XXX’

- There will no longer be any cost to the user


Take The Voice Generations for example, where Seven Network partnered with Ansible to implement a standard SMS voting mechanic to determine the title of the world’s first The Voice Generations Champion.










Take your SMS engagement to the next level using rich SMS to provide an immersive, branded experience for your audience. Videos, barcodes, chatbots – rich SMS has everything you need to add something a little ‘extra’ to your standard SMS campaigns.


Ansible’s expert grade, proprietary SMS product has been tried and tested by major clients for over 15 years driving winning premium and standard SMS campaigns. If you want to engage your audience on their platform of choice with inbound SMS competitions or personalised 1:1 messaging campaigns, then get in touch with one of our audience engagement experts to build a winning strategy today.


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