Non-GSM characters

Angel Cheung
Angel Cheung
  • Updated

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What are GSM and non-GSM characters?

GSM characters are the standard character set for SMS, and includes letters of the English alphabet, numbers, and common punctuation marks or symbols such as !,'@%$=.?/().

Non-GSM characters consist of any characters with a different encoding to the standard character set for SMS (such as emojis). Introducing non-GSM characters to a template reduces the initial character limit of an SMS to 70, so keep messaging concise to avoid inadvertently sending multiple segments.

Messages sent with non-GSM characters can also be concatenated, once you send more than one non-GSM segment, your character limit reduces to 64 characters per segment.

How do you know if your message body contains non-GSM characters?

If a non-GSM character is detected within a message body that you have written, the non-GSM character highlighter will highlight the non-GSM characters within.

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Be aware of how non-GSM characters impact your character limit

Remember how we mentioned character limits above?

Things get a little more interesting once you introduce non-GSM characters to your SMS.

Non-GSM characters consist of any characters with a different encoding to the standard character set for SMS.

Emojis and eastern language scripts which require a far broader array of characters are good examples of non-GSM characters, however many popular text editors also don't support GSM encoding and use a different encoding instead.

The moment a non-GSM character is introduced to an SMS, the initial character limit drops to 70 characters per SMS rather 160 as it has to be sent with a different encoding.

Most emojis take up two characters, however newer ones can take up to 4.

Messages sent with non-GSM characters can also be concatenated, once you send more than one non-GSM segment, your character limit reduces to 64 characters per segment.

In summary, keep in mind how long your message content is and the impact using non-GSM characters might have. Feel free to use emojis, but remember that they will increase your message segments, so use them wisely!