to sms gateway provider or not?

I need to implimenting sms gateway on my website pretty much an exact replica of what google. provides as a way to validate their business owners for their google places feature.

The problem is i know nothing about SMS validation and my developer is asking for sms provider details...

I also noticed after a few searches here on EE that some people are saying that you dont need an sms provider if you send the text message as an email?

Can someone who has more insight please explain the gist of what i need?


Here are my criteria:
1) I need to send 1 text message with a unique code in it that is generated by my app
2) My website is only for the United States market and therefore only needs to send TXT messages from the U.S. to the U.S.
3) I am just starting my business and would like a FREE open source solution if its reliable and in the U.S. ( I dont beleive i am looking for free software as I dont have a machine that can host this

Do I even need an SMS provider if i send the message as an email?


Thanks
ThanxAsked:
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mrjoltcolaCommented:
If you want to send SMS to numbers across carriers, doing it via email may be difficult, as each carrier has a different email gateway, it changes, and can be prone to delays. It also burdens the user with knowing their carrier, and telling your app. But it is done, you need to obtain an SMS gateway list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_SMS_gateways

The problem with this option is you need to know your user's carrier before sending the email. Either you need to ask the user to enter this in his profile, or you use a number lookup service (tnid.us for example) to find the carrier, then send the text out.

Your other options for sending are:
1) Use a cheap service like Clickatel (and be aware that there will be some networks that you cannot send to).
2) Implement an SMS gateway either with an SMS modem or by buying some SMS hardware.
3) Pay for a premium messaging service that will guarantee delivery across networks

None of these options require you to know any carrier info, you just send.
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Ray PaseurCommented:
If you are in the USA, look into this service.  I have used their telephony and SMS solutions with great success.
http://www.twilio.com
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ThanxAuthor Commented:
mrjoltcola:

Can you elaborate on option 2 please? Thanks


Ray_Paseur:
so for what i would need to do twilio would provide a service that would allow me to send sms for 2 cents per sms message? What do you use it for and how much do you pay - is there any carrier it does not send sms too?

Thanks

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ThanxAuthor Commented:
Ray_Paseur:
Is twilio considered a premium messaging service that will guarantee delivery across networks?

Thanks
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Ray PaseurCommented:
I am under a non-disclosure agreement with respect to my Twilio application and rates.  I can tell you that the app is in private beta and relates to retail advertising and marketing initiatives.  I do not know of a cross-network guarantee but I have never discovered a single case where a message went missing.  I have tested most of the major networks in the USA.  Twiliio tech support is great and you can get started with them for a very modest investment.  Worth checking out, for sure.
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