Terms and definitions in messaging

Multichannel messaging service is based on a variety of telecommunication and Internet technologies. In the description of services, we often use abbreviations that may not always be known to you. Here we have compiled a glossary of terms and definitions used in the industry.

Destination Number

The destination number of an SMS is the phone number of the recipient you wish to send the message to. MSISDN is short for Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number, and is a unique number identifying a subscription in a GSM or UMTS mobile network. Simply put, it is the telephone number to the SIM card in a mobile/cellular phone. The MSISDN together with IMSI are two important numbers used to identify a mobile phone. IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) is often used as a key in the HLR (“subscriber database”) and the MSISDN is the number normally dialled to connect a call to the mobile phone. Formatting this number correctly is important. International numbers are formatted as follows: Country Code + Multi-Carrier Exchange Code + Subscriber Number Here’s an example using a UK mobile number: 35699991117

  • 44 – Country Code (e.g. UK)
  • 7897 – Multi-Carrier Exchange number (which identifies the Prefix Operator, in this example as Hutchison 3G)
  • 35533 – Subscriber number
Please note in some countries the multi-carrier exchange number does not indicate or identify a specific mobile operator. And in these cases mobile numbers are formatted the same as land line numbers so it is important to ensure the number is submitted with Country Code without the ‘+’ symbol and without any leading zero’s ‘0’.