Want to know what the biggest lie an SMS provider will tell you as a client? It’s that you can’t take your SMS subscriber database to another SMS provider. This lie isn’t told by all SMS providers of course, but recently I’ve seen an increasing amount of clients trying to migrate their SMS databases to Tatango, only to be told by their current provider that it’s not possible.
Why do SMS providers do this? It’s simple, they don’t want to lose your business, so lying to you about the many reasons why they can’t migrate your subscriber database usually makes it seem like you have no choice but to stay with your current SMS provider.
Below are some of the most common lies told to clients about why they can’t migrate their SMS subscriber database to another provider, and why these lies are complete BS.
1) Sorry, but we don’t have a way to export your customers’ mobile phone numbers from our platform. Seriously? Any junior developer, or anyone with MySql experience should be able to export the needed data from any SMS provider in a matter of minutes, with no issues.
2) Sorry, but since we take on the liability for the SMS campaign, we can’t allow you to use your customers’ mobile phone numbers on another SMS platform. While the courts have found that all parties involved in sending text messages are liable for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (see the case against TextMarks and Heartland Automotive), this doesn’t mean the SMS provider is still liable for what a brand does with their customers’ mobile phone numbers after their contractual relationship is terminated. Also, while you may hear a sales person or account manager say that their company takes “the liability for the SMS campaign”, I guarantee you that as you move up the food chain within that company, that answer will very quickly change to “Hell no, we don’t take the liability for any SMS campaign, as we’re just the platform.”
3) Sorry, transferring your customer’s mobile phone numbers from one short code to another is against the CTIA guidelines. This is complete BS; the CTIA has no restrictions or rules whatsoever for transferring mobile phone numbers from one short code to another. Don’t believe me? Feel free to read their entire playbook here.
4) Sorry, transferring your customer’s mobile phone numbers from one short code to another is against the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) Best Practices. This is complete BS as well, but there are some best practices that the MMA advises when making the switch from one short code to another. You can watch a video on these guidelines here. Remember though that the MMA best practices are just best practices, so this isn’t enforced and isn’t required when transferring short codes.
5) Sorry, transferring your customer’s mobile phone numbers from one short code to another is against the law. You mean the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which is a federal law? There’s no mention whatsoever of not being able to move customers’ mobile phone numbers from one SMS provider to another in the TCPA, and there isn’t any case law either that mentions this. This is complete BS, and definitely a tell tale sign that your current SMS provider doesn’t know the first thing about the laws governing text message marketing under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
So next time your current SMS provider tells you that you’re unable to transfer your customers’ mobile phone numbers to another provider, just send ‘em this blog post.