The SMS Life Path

How Does SMS Work?

To develop an understanding of how SMS messaging works, a good starting point is seeing the four links that make up the SMS Life Path:


Simply stated, Marketron is an SMS provider. When you craft your text message using our platform and click the “Send” button, the first stop is to the SMS aggregator. There are only a couple in the U.S. and their job is to aggregate all the text messages sent from SMS providers to one centralized location.

These aggregators have direct communication to the next stop in the life path: the wireless carriers (i.e. AT&T, Verizon, T- Mobile, Sprint, etc.).

Those carriers then send out the text message to the individual mobile devices and, voila! You receive your text.

All of this happens in milliseconds and as you can see there are a lot of moving parts so it helps to have a full understanding of this process.


What Causes Delays in SMS Messages?

Due to the many players involved in getting an SMS message delivered from one device to the next, there are times when certain issues can lead to temporary delays:

  1. Location Issues: The location of the sender or receiver can create a delay in text message delivery. If a mobile device is located outside a network's coverage area or in a spot where the network signal is blocked such as in a mountainous region, a delay in transmission may occur. In urban areas, tall buildings can also cause transmission issues. Being in an old building with poor cell reception is another possible culprit.
  2. Mobile Device Issues: Problems with a mobile device may cause delays in text message transmission. If a device is turned off, it likely will not receive the text until it is turned back on. A weak or uncharged battery may also negatively impact message delivery. 
  3. Different Networks: A text sender and receiver using different networks may have a greater chance of experiencing texting delays than those using the same network, because of communication between networks or the carrier prioritizing their own traffic.
  4. Network Traffic: Texting during periods of heavy network use impacts text delivery speed. Periods of increased traffic may create congestion on the local network and delay arrival of messages to the handset.



*You can download a PDF version of the SMS Life Path by clicking the link below:

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