The average response time for a text message is just 90 seconds.

Compare that to the average response time for an email, which is 90 minutes, according to As a marketing professional, this is a powerful statistic and makes adopting mobile messaging campaigns a no-brainer.

While this stat is compelling, most businesses aren’t seeing the results for one very basic reason – limited access to accurate phone information. The fact is, a large customer database can quickly go out of date.

From an outside perspective, sending alerts to 100,000 consumers seems highly effective, but when thousands of those numbers are routed to mobile networks that no longer service the intended recipient and thousands more undeliverable (recipient’s phone was off, roaming or could not receive SMS) – the reach of the campaign drastically drops.

Additionally, most customer databases contain numbers that are incorrectly formatted, such as landline numbers listed as mobile – and lack the information required to route the messages efficiently to the subscribers who have ported their numbers to a different operator. 

Target audience is the driving force behind effective marketing campaigns – how to reach the right customer, with the right information at the right time to boost ROI. Without an accurate customer database, enterprises are simply throwing a message at a wall and hoping it sticks, which becomes a waste of time and resources.

Phone number information services allow organisations with phone number databases to access important information about the numbers to inform their outreach. These include whether the numbers are accurate, the current network operator and country, the number type (mobile or landline), and the live status of reachability and roaming. Depending on their goals and the extent of their campaign outreach, organisations can either use a portability check or number verification to raise the effectiveness of the campaign.

Portability check

Mobile number portability enables mobile users to keep their phone numbers when switching network providers. For the user, receiving and sending calls and texts looks the same on a ported number as it did on the original network. On the backend, however, is more complicated. The SMS sent to a ported number that’s routed to the original carrier, not the new carrier serving the subscriber, may not be delivered or needs to be rerouted.

A portability check validates a phone number by searching portability databases in the country from which the number originates. This determines whether the number is active, who is the current service provider, and whether the number belongs to a mobile or landline phone. Checking a number’s portability optimises the call routing, because even though a number might not change, it may be routed through a different carrier.

Understanding a number’s current carrier is key for sending the message in the most cost-efficient way.

Number verification

Number verification takes the portability check a step further. By combining a number’s portability status with live data, number verification goes so far as to determine whether a phone is on or off, if it is reachable at the current moment or roaming, and in which country the subscriber is roaming.

Number verification works best when soliciting an immediate response is vital to a campaign’s success. Knowing the deliverability status of number in real time can help organisations determine the best time to send a message to receive a response. After all, 98 percent of people read their text messages, and 90 percent of those people read their messages within three seconds of receipt, according to a Dynmark study.

For certain use cases, number verification can also help fight fraudulent activity by pinpointing the location of a user’s phone. If a company is suspecting a fraudulent credit card purchase, for instance, the company can cross-check the location from which the transaction occurred against the location of the registered phone number to determine whether the activity was truly fraudulent.

Benefits to the organisation

Using portability checks and number verification to guide customer communications fills the void between sending a message and ensuring that the message reached its destination in the most efficient way. Verifying customer databases for number accuracy and validity makes targeting more effective by revealing the right moment to contact – and doing so in a cost-efficient way.

Whereas before, an organisation was paying for sending 100,000 messages and receiving a 50 percent delivery rate, that organisation can now send 50,000  messages and expect all of those messages to be delivered. By using these phone number lookup services before sending messages, organisations can improve the overall ROI of their marketing campaigns.

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