Introduction to Phone Numbers (Routes)

An overview of how Alpha ID's and Virtual Numbers work

Andrew Craig avatar
Written by Andrew Craig
Updated over a week ago

In order to communicate with contacts on mobile phones or landlines, your Chatti project needs a route between the Chatti servers and the telecom operators.

Chatti supports multiple types of routes, including Android phones, virtual numbers, alphanumeric sender IDs, and SMS shortcodes. The best option depends on your location, message volume, usage pattern, and budget.

Each type of route enables Chatti to connect to mobile networks. Still, different types of routes may support different message types (such as SMS, MMS and voice calls), support incoming or outgoing messages, have different capabilities, geographic reach, and cost, and may be best suited for certain message volumes or specific types of content.

  • Android phones work in any country and are suitable for sending up to a few thousand SMS messages per day (per Android phone). Many mobile networks offer discounted SMS bundles that make this the most affordable way to send messages. However, it requires an up-front investment to purchase an Android phone, as well as ongoing maintenance to keep the Android phone charged, connected to the internet, and (for prepaid users) topped up with credit to send messages. Android phones can receive notifications of incoming calls, but Chatti cannot use Android phones to send or receive voice (IVR) calls.

  • Virtual numbers are convenient and do not require a large up-front investment or ongoing maintenance, and are also typically suitable for sending up to a few thousand messages per day. Depending on the country, virtual numbers may support SMS, voice calls, or both. However, virtual numbers are not available in every country, and some mobile networks are more aggressive about blocking/filtering messages from virtual numbers that send certain types of content or more than a certain volume of messages.

  • SMS shortcodes are suitable for organizations sending or receiving several thousand messages per day or more. However, they require a very high up-front investment and can often take months to set up.

  • Alphanumeric sender IDs make SMS messages appear to originate from your organisation's name instead of a phone number. However, recipients cannot reply to your messages because there is no phone number; and some mobile networks block/filter messages or change the sender ID.

While many Chatti users only need one number (route) for their mobile messaging system, Chatti supports connecting multiple routes (including multiple different types of routes) in order to handle higher message volumes, support multiple geographic areas, message types, or use cases, or make your system more robust by adding redundancy.

Did this answer your question?