SMS text messages are encoded using 7-bit characters you can send up to 160 characters in a single SMS message. When sending Unicode SMS messages, you can only send 70 characters per single SMS message.
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Did you know?
- If you use a standard GSM 03.38-character set, single text messages are limited to 160 characters, including spaces. The maximum length of a text message is 918 characters including spaces.
- For such languages as Russian, Arabic, or Chinese will restrict your message to a maximum of 70 characters per SMS.
When the message length exceeds 160 characters in case of 7bit encoding (or 70 characters for UCS-2 encoding), the message is split up to multiple separate SMS and sent to the handset separately as well.
To be able to concentrate the messages on the phone, special header (UDH) is set for each message, which states the order and message each part belongs to. Due to this special UDH, the length of each combined 7-bit message is shortened to 153 characters (67 chracters for UCS-2).
Unicode (UCS-2) encoding supports greate range of characters and languages compared to very limited alphabet of 7bit encoding. If your message contains any characters not listed in the 7-bit alphabet, UCS-2 encoding is automatically used. In this case, each message takes up a lot more space, thus the message length is reduced to 70 characters.