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Sending SMS in Singapore

Navigate the regional rules of using SMS in Singapore.

Gareth Burroughes avatar
Written by Gareth Burroughes
Updated over a week ago

Here are some powerful insights into the current state of SMS globally. Singapore is undoubtedly a part of this, with more phones than people and an incredibly advanced society from a technological standpoint.

  • As of 2022, 83.7% of the worldwide population owns a smartphone. This equates to approximately 6.65 billion individuals.

  • 7.3 billion people, or 92% of the world's population, own a mobile phone capable of sending and receiving SMS messages.

  • SMS takes an average of six seconds to be delivered.

  • 60% of messages are read within 5 minutes.

  • SMS-delivered coupons are redeemed by consumers 10 times more often than other types of coupons.

  • Consumers who use multiple channels have a lifetime value 30% higher than those who use only one channel.

  • SMS can increase email open rates by 30%.

  • 22% of text messages are forwarded to friends and family when the recipient finds the message valuable.

  • Less than 5% of the text messages received are spam messages.

  • The global traffic of Application-to-Person messaging (A2P) SMS is expected to rise 25-30% by 2029.

Example text message:


It’s clear to see why businesses are turning more and more to texting. SMS is a valuable channel for both reach and ROI. However, the complexities of sending SMS as a business can often put brands off sending at all. In this guide, we’ll explain how to start sending in Singapore with ease.

Gathering opt-ins

There are many ways to get customers to opt-in for SMS marketing, but it must be evident and provable that they have explicitly and knowingly opted in due to the 'Do Not Call' register.

Examples with caveats are:

  • Asking for phone numbers at the point of customer sign up on your website as long as opt-in for SMS is clearly a separate option to email opt-in.

  • You can easily use our pages and forms functionality to create on-brand data capture on your site or an email campaign with a link to opt-in on your site.

  • Provide incentives for customers to sign up via 'text-to-join' campaigns by advertising a number online or in-person that they can text to opt in.

  • Whatever you choose, it's essential to ensure you have provable full consent to send to your customers so that you comply with Singapore law under the Personal Data Protection Act and also so that you provide a positive brand experience.

While we provide many tools to help you manage your data and make life easier, we always recommend you speak to your legal counsel or the IMDA to ensure compliance. An excellent place to start is to check that any numbers you've already collected for SMS marketing were collected with 'explicit opt-in.' This means making sure you've made clear you will be using SMS to contact your customer and that you haven't relied on assumed consent from activity or a pre-ticked box.

Opting out

When sending marketing messages via SMS in Singapore, you should allow your recipients to opt out via SMS within every marketing message. This means you will need to have a Singapore VMN. Transactional messages, like order updates, do not always require a way for recipients to opt-out.

Key regulatory bodies and legal links

The below is a guide to give a sense of the regulatory framework. This is not legal advice, and we recommend you get professional legal guidance to ensure you adhere to applicable laws.

  • Personal Data Protection Act 2012

    Is the key regulation you will need to comply with. You can read it at PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION ACT 2012. But more importantly, is administered by the Personal Data Protection Commission or PDPC, which is part of the IMDA. There is also a Spam Control Act 2007. View a list of all acts on Acts and Regulations.

  • IMDA or Infocomm Media Development Authority
    The legal authority governing SMS is responsible for the current regulations. Current registration requirements are based on this key proposal and then decision to strengthen safeguards for SMS to SGP users

  • SGNIC or Singapore Network Information Centre

    A fully owned subsidiary of the IMDA responsible for the registration of sender IDs. You can find out more about them at Overview of SMS Sender ID Registry ("SSIR").

Dotdigital expects to be accepted as a Participating Aggregator shortly.

The SGNIC manages the SSIR or Singapore Sender ID Registry. This is where all sender IDs need to be registered.

What you need

  • Sender ID

    Businesses must register all sender types before sending SMS.

  • Alphanumeric ‘from name’

    Often displayed as the name of the company. It can include letters and numbers. If you register, for example, “Brand John” as the sender, any variation of that at all, including capitals and spaces, means the messages will not be sent. This is ideal for most customers, whether marketing or transactional.

  • Virtual mobile number (VMN)

    Sometimes referred to as a long number, this appears as a regular Singapore mobile number but is used exclusively by your brand. This is recommended if speed and ease of text reply are the most important considerations.

If you need to opt-out by VMN, this will need to be registered even if not used as a Sender ID, so it is cheaper to send from the VMN rather than send from an Alpha and then register a separate VMN for opt-out


The registration process is extremely specific and must be followed fully for your messages to be delivered.

Businesses that have a local Singapore presence and, therefore, already have a UEN or Unique Entity Number are able to register their company with the SGNIC for a one-off fee of SGD 500. Once registered, they can register their unique Sender ID or IDs with the SSIR for a fee of SGD 200 per year per ID.

Businesses with no local Singapore presence cannot send SMS to Singapore at present. If you have no local presence but want to send SMS, let your Account Manager know, and we will inform you as soon as it is possible (we expect before the end of 2023).

As part of the setup, after registering with SGNIC, you will need to send us:

  • A screenshot of the Sender ID from the SGNIC website.

  • A completed Letter of Authorisation – we provide the template and guidance.

  • Any URLs that may be included; the confirmed use case (e.g. transactional, 2-way, marketing, notifications); example messages.

  • We can arrange Inbound numbers (e.g. local VMN) that may be included in the SMS – Even if used purely for inbound opt-outs/replies, these still need to be registered.

  • Note it is not required to prove opt-in in order to register to send, but if caught sending a non-opted-in SMS, a fine of up to SGD 10,000 can be levied.

  • There are some further details we can help with as part of setting up.

In short

  • Registration - For delivery to work, registration of all Sender IDs is now essential. Businesses with a Singapore office that, therefore, have a UEN (Unique Entity Number) can choose to register the exact Alphanumeric sender ID they want themselves through SGNIC.

  • Sender ID – Alpha or numeric sender IDs are allowed if registered.

  • Opting in and “Do Not Call” register – Mobiles often register with “Do Not Call” or DNC. Marketing messages can NOT be sent to people that on the DNC register UNLESS they have specifically opted in. The DNC can be checked here - Valid opt-in information is required when requested; otherwise, a fine of up to $10k can be incurred.

  • Opting out – it is vital to allow this for any ongoing or marketing campaigns using a dedicated VMN. The setup is under three weeks.

  • Long SMS – is supported.

  • Restrictions – Any SMS that has not been opted in to. Also, finance, adult, and online gambling.

To learn more about SMS, visit Get started with SMS.

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