Getting Started 

What is a Short code ? 

  • A Shortcode is a short string of digits that can be used to send and receive messages. 
  • These are typically used for marketing campaigns, but also for public-service systems. 
  • Short codes are configured on a carrier by carrier basis as the short code has to be recognised by each carrier. 
  • For example, if a company wanted "3666" to work in New Zealand, then they would need to register that short-code with each carrier operating in New Zealand.

What are the benefits of using Short codes?

  1. SMS Shortcodes are 3 or 4 digit numbers which are easier to remember for customers when contacting you
  2. An SMS shortcode is a short number to place on promotion material (like TV and other printed ads - magazines, transit advertising, billboards etc…)
  3. Customers use the shortcode facility to give permission to receive information by signing up for the specific services they want, rather than receiving information they do not want
  4. Shortcodes are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year even when the office or competitors are closed
  5. Shortcodes are a great marketing tool as they get potential customers to take action immediately via SMS
  6. Shortcodes provide you with customers’ numbers via reply text, enabling you to build a contact database
  7. Shortcodes are a very effective and cheap method of marketing or communicating special promotions to your loyalty club members
  8. You can accurately measure the success of a particular shortcode campaign via the messaging platform

 Short Code Compliance and Types 

Rules of engagement for NZ short codes 

- Text messages cannot be sent to phones that have not opted-in in the first place 

- Short codes are compulsory for Marketing campaigns, Bulk Sends etc 

- One short code can be used for one Use case only 

- Additional Use cases require additional codes

- The sender identifier must be included at the beginning of the message

- An opt-out must be provided at the end of the message

- Opting out/unsubscribing must be free-of-charge for Marketing messages

Types of Short codes 

  • Standard short codes – Also known as the 20c MO code, which implies that the handset will be charged 20c to send a message to the shortcode
  • Zero-rated short codes - Where our customers ensure handsets are never charged for messages to their contact base, and they pay for any charges

  • Premium short codes – Any shortcode that charges the handset above 20c, this could range from 30c to $8 per SMS

How do I obtain a Short Code? 

Bulletin Sales and Support teams can manage the process for you. You need to fill out the order form to obtain short code approval as well as pay the required short code lease fees. Please contact us to get the process started.

Can Bulletin help me obtain carrier approvals? 

Yes, Bulletin can manage the approval process for you. You fill out the order form and we do the rest. We will identify possible problem areas and help you correct those so as to maximize your chances for speedy carrier approval.   

Setting up a Campaign 

What types of content are acceptable? 

Carrier content guidelines may vary depending on the location of the service, but can be summarized as follows:
  1. No adult, gambling, high-risk financial services, violence related content, or content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, harassing, or racially, ethically or otherwise objectionable. Also not allowed are services that facilitate illegal activity, promote violence, promote discrimination, promote illegal activities, or incorporate any materials that infringe or assist others to infringe on any copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights. If in doubt, speak to your Account Manager.

How do I connect my application to the various carriers? 

By working with Bulletin, you will only need one connection to our platform, either using our API with the REST or SMPP interface. Bulletin takes care of the routing and billing interfaces with the various carriers. See the Developer Guide for technical specifications. 

Where can I find the API details? 

Bulletin offers REST or SMPP interfaces. See the Developer Guide for technical specifications.

General Questions (New Zealand short codes) 

Do we need all operators to certify us before we launch service? 

Yes, Bulletin liaises with the operators on your behalf.

Is there any constraint on the adult content? Are there any guidelines for our reference? 

Yes, the following message categories are prohibited:
  • Illegal substances

  • Sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, and tobacco (SHAFT)

  • Third-party lead generation

  • High-risk financial services

  • Debt collection and forgiveness

  • Gambling

  • Multi-level marketing

See the Telecommunications Carriers Forum for full guidelines.

Will the operator(s) or Bulletin notify us when there is service downtime? 

Bulletin will provide notifications at the earliest opportunity of both scheduled and unscheduled downtime. You can also subscribe to service notifications here:

How long does provisioning of short codes & price points take? 

  • Usually this is 2 weeks from when a completed application is accepted by the carriers. Our recommendation is to allow 4 weeks, even longer if the service can be construed as "ambiguous" by the carriers. 
  • Changes to price points can take significantly longer. 

How many digits does a short code have? Does the 1st digit need to be start with "zero"? 

Short codes are either three or four digits. They cannot begin with '0' or '1'.

Are there any guidelines to determine whether users are active or not? 

No specific information is available from the carriers. Approach is to send to the number and to check the
Delivery Receipt.

Does Bulletin provide a Carrier Look-up function i.e. dipping? If so, any quota or restriction on such function? 

Bulletin has direct access to the New Zealand Industry Portability Management System (IPMS). This enables Bulletin to accurately and reliably route messages to the correct carrier. When you submit a message Bulletin ensures that the message is delivered correctly but we are unable to advise the destination network.

Do we need to use new product code for new campaign? 

Each campaign for a shortcode needs to be separately approved by the carriers - this is especially important where any above-the-line advertising will be used to promote the campaign. 

Does Bulletin provide us Handset Discovery API service? 


Any specific retry policy for PSMS in NZ? 

Yes. See the Mobile Messaging Service Codes for specific details. A copy can be obtained from The Telecommunications Carriers' Forum Inc.

Can your service support UTF 8? 

We support the standard GSM encoding standards and UTF 16.

Receiving Payment 

What can I charge my end user? 

  • Each network operator is responsible for setting its own range of rates from which you can choose one to charge your customer. Therefore it is possible that you may have to charge a different tariff from operator to operator. In some cases, certain carriers will impose different rates, i.e. text 2 win services may have be differently priced on some carriers. 
  • We recommend you use one of these common price points for your cross carrier campaigns since it will simplify your marketing and communication efforts to promote your service to end-users. 

Do carriers offer MO or MT billing ? 

Carriers prefer to charge on the Mobile Originate (MO) message but do also offer MT billing.

What are the costs involved in setting up a campaign ? 

There are two types of costs involved in setting up a campaign:
  • Short code provisioning costs. These are the costs for provisioning the short code on the various carrier networks. 
  • Service charges. These are the costs for setting up and maintaining the service (eg Bulletin Connect) between you and Bulletin. 

What are the short code provisioning costs? 

Some carriers are charging a fixed fee to provision a short code on their network and complete the end-to-end testing for message routing and billing. Hence, the short code provisioning cost, which is a one-time cost, incurred with every new short code launch.

What are the service charges? 

Service charges are the setup and maintenance fees charged by Bulletin for implementing a connection to the platform, and maintaining such connection according to the agreed SLA. These costs include all technical and commercial assistance in implementing cross-carrier premium campaigns, such as obtaining carrier approvals, assisting you with the integration, performing end-to-end short code testing, etc..

What are the revenue share rates? 

The revenue share rate is the rate Bulletin pays back to you based on the number of messages successfully billed by the carrier per month.

What about charge-backs? 

Contractually, carriers have the possibility to credit end-users, and deduct such credit from the revenue share. If this occurs, Bulletin will provide a full statement of revenue share and charge-backs.
Charge-backs are not a common occurrence.

What are the payment terms for the revenue share? 

  • Carriers are paying Bulletin between 15 and 60 days after the end of the month in which the charge occurred. Bulletin will pay you within 15 days after receipt of carrier out payment. Depending on the out payment this may that the form of a credit note or cheque. 
  • See the Short Code Revenue Share Process for more information. 

What about end-user refunds? 

You assume full responsibility for refunding end-users when the situation arises. Bulletin assumes no responsibility for refunding end-users.

How is revenue share determined? 

Revenue share is determined from the confirmed billing statistics provided by the carriers between 15 and 60 days after the month in which the charge occurred. The carriers take their predetermined share of the revenue from a campaign and make an out payment to Bulletin the remainder. Bulletin passes to you your share of the revenue while retaining a prearranged share.

What is the revenue share and invoicing process? 

At the end of each month you will receive a report card for each short code giving a summary of traffic that has passed through Bulletin. This is an indication only and only the carrier data will be used for calculating the revenue share. The carriers provide their data between 15 and 60 days after the billing month when Bulletin will then calculate the revenue share and excess message costs that will be included in the next monthly invoice.

Will I get paid for all my submitted messages?

  • You are compensated based on the number of messages the carriers report in their billing statistics. 
  • From past experience, the number of submitted messages and the number of billed messages often do not match but generally the difference is within 3-10% of the submitted messages. Reasons for failed billing may be insufficient credit (only for prepaid cards), charge-backs, etc.