Twilio's first European developer event, TwilioCon Europe, sees the launch today of localised SMS numbers for a number of European countries.
Twilio’s cloud telephony APIs are designed to make it easier to build telephony into your apps, and while European users have had access to voice numbers for some time, mobile numbers that can receive texts haven’t been available until now.
The new SMS services are available in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland and Belgium, while Spain gets SMS-enabled landlines. Receiving a SMS will be relatively cheap, with messages costing less than a cent — $0.0075 to be precise.
With SMS an important channel for marketing, and for customer support, the ability to build apps that can use SMS alongside voice and more familiar digital channels should add flexibility to existing applications, as Twilio’s services are accessed using standard RESTful APIs, or via libraries for more common languages and platforms.
One useful feature of Twilio’s UK mobile number allocation is support for SMS short codes. You’ll be able to build apps that can receive as well as send SMS messages – making it easier to build complex telephony-powered apps, for example using SMS as a channel for two-factor authentication. Short codes make it easier for users to send messages to online services via SMS, as they don’t need to use a full number.
Services using SMS will also be able to work with Unicode characters, supporting more languages and letting apps localise services to just where their users are. Twilio’s voice services will also offer multi-lingual support, ensuring users will be able to interact with you services the way they want, without requiring significant new development effort.
While the new SMS features are powerful tools, they’re not the only tool you can use to build telephony apps. Twilio now offers 535 different dialing codes in the UK, making it easier to give users cheaper access to services — and allowing you to provide a wider range of local services as well.
Twilio’s latest UK and European updates aren’t just ticking the boxes for European users, they’re taking the platform and supporting uniquely European use cases and user needs — focusing on the complex nature of European telco charging structures and the use of separate mobile and landline numbering schemes.
It’s always a sign of a well-designed service that any enhancement gives you new ideas for applications and tools that can be built using its new features. Twilio’s new SMS services should inspire developers to add new channels to existing applications, as well as helping create new services that bring the internet to a wider audience around the world.