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Overview

SMS gateways are used by CommCare HQ to send and receive text messages. Each gateway is represented by a phone number - this could be a full phone number (e.g. +1-555-123-4567) or a shortcode (e.g. 13341).  Different types of gateways exist - use this page to determine which SMS gateway is most appropriate for your project. 

For general questions about how CommCareUQ uses SMS, please visit this page on SMS basics.


Gateway Options

There are a few types of SMS gateways available for use in CommCareHQ:

  • Dimagi Connected Gateways: These are existing gateways that are already available in CommCareHQ (listed below).   They are suitable for high-volume projects (and some support reverse-billing), but are only available in certain countries.  There are a few global gateways (US phone numbers) but these are more expensive for sending and receiving international messages. Review the table below to determine which gateways support the countries for your project. 
  • Android Gateway: This uses an Android phone to send and receive messages for your project.  It's suitable for lower-volume projects and requires ongoing upkeep (topping up the phone's balance and making sure it remains connected to the internet).  Instructions for using this gateway option are available here: Setup an Android SMS Gateway
  • New In Country Gateway: For larger high-volume projects in countries we do not already support, Dimagi can support purchasing and connecting a new gateway to CommCareHQ.  SMS gateways can be purchased directly from a cell phone company in a country, or from an aggregator that resells phone numbers. Setting up a new gateway requires a significant amount of time and can have high costs. After identifying potential providers, please use the Aggregator Evaluation Worksheet to ensure that key questions are asked and answered during meetings with respective telcos/aggregators. Once you have selected an appropriate gateway provider based on project requirements (cost, setup time, reverse billing, the gateway can we connected to CommCareHQ with assistance from Dimagi's developer team. Please contact information@dimagi.com for more information.  

Existing CommCareHQ Gateways

These gateays are always available for use without setup time/cost, and Dimagi manages the relationships with these gateway providers. In the table below are our existing connected gateways.  

 On CommCareHQ, choose Messaging -> SMS Connectivity to choose your gateway. See Setup SMS Connection for Project for more detailed instructions.

GatewayDescriptionSupported Countries
GRAPEVINE-ZAGrapevine is a South Africa-based gateway. Users can send messages to this phone number for free (messages are reverse billed). The phone number for this gateway may change depending on which network provider the receiving phone is using.

South Africa

Lesotho

MOBILE_BACKEND_MACHMach is useful for sending messages to a wide range of countries, but currently only supports outgoing messages. The phone number will change based on the selected country.Various Countries
MOBILE_BACKEND_TROPO_USTropo US can send and receive messages using a US-based phone number. Sending to international countries will be more expensive. The phone number for sending/receiving messages is +1 617 575 2704.Various Countries, but US number
MOBILE_BACKEND_TROPO_CANADIANTropo Canada uses a Canadian number to send and receive messages. It is sometimes more reliable than Tropo US for international messages. Sending to international countries will be more expensive. The phone number for sending/receiving messages is +1 514 400 9265.Various Countries, but Canadian number
MOBILE_BACKEND_TWILIOTwillio is another US-based phone number. International messages will be more expensive. Rates to a given country may differ between Twilio and Tropo. The phone number for sending/receiving messages is +1 617 600 0456.Various Countries, but US number
MOBILE_BACKEND_UNICEL

Unicel is an India-based gateway.

  • Outgoing shortcode is LM-COMMCARE
  • To send messages: +91 98 45 204984. Due to Indian regulations, you cannot reply directly to a message from the shortcode. Messages must be manually sent to this number.
  • Opt-in number: +91 77 60 962755. Due to do-not-disturb regulations, the message start must be sent to this phone number before using this gateway.

 

India
MOBILE_BACKEND_YOYo is a Uganda-based gateway. The shortcode for this gateway is 8291.Uganda

 

 

 

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