Sending bulk SMS messages from Rails app


One of my model generates short messages that has to be delivered to
mobile phones as SMS’s. I am not sure how to proceed from here.

  1. What are the components I would need?
  2. Do I need a GSM modem? If yes how would it integrate with my app?
  3. Does my hosting provider needs to have a GSM modem?
  4. Does sending an SMS cost anything? If yes how much would a single SMS

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Warmest regards

Easiest way is to use the Email approach. E.g., you send an email (with
SMS text as the body) to :

[phonenumber] for Cingular

Don’t have a full list but I do believe it’s easily searchable for each


I’ve developed several apps in php and rails that deal with SMS.

If you have a GSM modem, you can use an application like Kannel
Setup and configuration can be anywhere from very simple to extremely
frustrating depending on hardware support for your OS.

There are other services online that let you send SMS messages, but they
generally charge pennies per message for outgoing messages. If you
for SMSC provider you will find several. Incoming SMS is another story.
There are so many restrictions with SMS messaging it can be very
and complex to setup with a real SMSC service company. I think the
rate for a 5 digit short code is somewhere around $1000/month and vanity
numbers are even higher. Sharing a short code with someone is possible,
you are limited in the keywords you can use etc. It appears to be a
heavily regulated business.

The email route is probably your best bet for sending messages since it
costs you nothing. The downside is that some providers might block
and you can’t always get a full 160 characters going through an SMS
gateway. Using Kannel or a similar app for incoming messages will let
receive messages at whatever rate your GSM provider charges. You can
this up locally with a dynamic dns service and then relay to your remote


Thanks Jason and John. That was really helpful.