Writing an effective text message that communicates the right amount of information in just 160 characters is a challenging task - even for the most crafty writers. Too simple of a text can lead to misinterpretation, and using acronyms  for business texting is viewed as unprofessional. To allow longer messages to be delivered, the message must be broken down into segments before being sent. But, what is a message segment, and how does that impact your credit usage? 

What is a Text Message Segment?

All phone carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) measure text messages in character batches called segments. Generally, most messages use the character coding standard of GSM-7 and contain up to 160 characters per SMS text segment. Since there are times when 160 characters aren’t enough, multipart messaging allows users to send messages that are longer in length. By being able to break apart long messages into segments that can’t go through in one piece, multipart messaging allows segments to come back together for the intended recipient. The recipient will still get a single message, and the multiple segments are arranged in the right order.

How Text Message Length Influences Pay-As-You-Go Credits:

Our Pay-As-You-Go plan is based on credits. One credit equals one 160-character outbound text message. Longer texts and voice messages are supported, they just cost additional credits due to the message containing more segments. Inbound text messages are always free!

  • 0-160 characters = 1 segment and charged as a single credit per phone number
  • 161- 320 characters = 2 segments and charged as two credits per phone number
  • 321-480 characters = 3 segments and charged as three credits per phone number
  • 481- 640 characters = 4 segments and charged as four credits per phone number

Text segments that include an image (MMS) will be charged one additional credit per phone number. For example, if your text broadcast includes the maximum of four segments and includes an image (MMS), you will be charged 5 credits per phone number. At this time, Cricket Wireless users cannot receive text messages containing images (MMS).

Learn More About Credits

What About Monthly Plans?

The monthly plan is for users that use our service frequently and send broadcasts out to the same group of numbers. Unlike the Pay-As-You-Go plan, which relies on credits, the monthly plan offers unlimited text and voice broadcasts for a monthly flat rate.

Due to the popularity of the unlimited plan and high cost of MMS (6x more than a standard text), monthly users will NOT be able to send images (MMS) in broadcasts. Text messages will also be limited to a maximum of two segments or 320 characters in length. Monthly customers will still be able to receive inbound messages that contain images (MMS) for free.

If you think MMS (images) or longer character lengths for text is a “must-have” for your organization, we’d recommend switching to Pay-As-You-Go.