Messaging • Last Updated 1/25/2024

How to text India: Your guide for SMS communication

This guide provides helpful tips for texting in India. Learn how to send text messages to India and avoid common mistakes.

By Adeniyi Makinde

Are you struggling to send text messages to India? Texting India involves understanding the local phone number structure, using the correct country code, and adhering to specific communication regulations. Whether you're a business professional, marketer, or simply staying in touch with friends or family, this guide provides the essential information to ensure your SMS messages reach India effectively.

Sending a text to India

Indian phone numbers typically consist of 10 digits, including the country code. The format includes the country code, followed by a 10-digit national number. For example, a number in Mumbai might appear as +91 22 12345678, where "22" is the area code for Mumbai.

Indian phone number formatting

Understanding the structure of Indian phone numbers is key to successful communication. The country code for India is +91, followed by the national number. The national number itself includes the area code and the subscriber's number. Area codes in India are usually 2 to 4 digits long, followed by a 6 to 8-digit local number.

For instance, a number in Delhi might be formatted as +91 11 23456789, where "11" is the area code for Delhi. Remember, the leading zero in the area code is not used when dialing from outside India.

Indian country code

When texting from abroad, always start with the country code (+91), followed by the national number. It's important to omit any leading zeros from the area code when dialing internationally.

For example, to text a number like 01234 56789, you would dial +91 1234 56789.

Staying compliant while texting India

When texting India, it's important to adhere to local regulations. Key points to consider include adhering to specific timing guidelines for different types of messages:

Transactional SMS regulations

Transactional messages can be sent at any time. They require a six-character sender ID representing the brand and registration of content templates.

Promotional SMS regulations

Promotional messages can only be sent from Monday through Sunday between 9am to 9pm. They cannot be sent to DND numbers and must include opt-out instructions. A six-digit sender ID is required, and message templates need to be registered.

TRAI DLT registration regulations

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) registration is mandatory for sending business SMS in India. This blockchain-based system is essential for businesses to register on the DLT platform to ensure customer protection from unwanted messages.

These regulations are enforced by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to ensure the protection of consumers from unsolicited and inappropriate messaging, while also providing clear guidelines for businesses using SMS as a communication tool.

Five steps to send a text to India

  1. Start with +91 to indicate the message is intended for India.
  2. Ensure the number includes the area code (without the leading zero) and the local number.
  3. Familiarize yourself with Indian regulations regarding SMS communication.
  4. Choose a service that supports international texting and offers features like delivery confirmation.
  5. Compose and send your message.

Best practices for texting Indian numbers

In India, the best practices for texting, particularly for business and marketing communications, are guided by a combination of regulatory frameworks and industry standards. While India does not have a comprehensive data protection law like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Information Technology Act of 2000 and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) provide guidelines and regulations relevant to SMS marketing and communications.

Key aspects of compliance include:

Opt-In consent

It's crucial to obtain explicit opt-in consent from recipients before sending them any commercial or marketing-related SMS. This consent should be documented and verifiable. Businesses should ensure that they only send messages to individuals who have explicitly agreed to receive them.

Time restrictions

Messages should be sent only during the recipient's daytime hours unless it's an urgent communication. This respects the recipient's privacy and avoids intrusion during inappropriate hours.

Content restrictions

Certain types of content are strictly prohibited in SMS communications. This includes messages related to gambling, firearms, adult content, political and religious content, controlled substances, and alcohol. Additionally, sending messages with shortened URLs is not allowed.

DND compliance

Businesses must respect the DND registry and avoid sending messages to users who have registered their numbers on this list.

Support for HELP/STOP messages

SMS campaigns should support HELP and STOP messages, allowing recipients to seek more information or opt out of receiving further messages. These options should be available in the recipient's local language.

Sender ID and message format

In India, alphanumeric Sender IDs are generally not supported, and messages are delivered with random short codes. The standard SMS length is 160 characters, and messages longer than this may be broken into multiple segments.

In summary, texting in India requires adherence to specific guidelines focusing on recipient consent, content restrictions, respect for privacy, and adherence to DND regulations. Businesses should review their use cases with legal counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Regular updates and adherence to these guidelines are crucial for maintaining compliant and effective SMS communication strategies in India.

Choosing the right greeting for your text message to India

In India, selecting an appropriate greeting for text messages is crucial for effective communication. The greeting should be suitable for the context and the audience.

In Indian culture, greetings vary based on the level of formality and the time of day. For informal interactions, particularly with friends or those you know well, common greetings include "Namaste," a versatile and traditional salutation, "Kaise ho?" (How are you?), "Aur kya chal raha hai?" (What's up?), and "Kya haal hai?" (How's it going?). These expressions are casual and denote familiarity.

In more formal settings, such as with acquaintances, elders, or in professional environments, greetings become more respectful. "Namaskar" is a formal version of "Namaste," often used in professional contexts. "Shubh prabhat" (Good morning) and "Shubh sandhya" (Good evening) are formal greetings, while "Aap kaise hain?" is a respectful way to ask someone how they are.

Additionally, greetings like "Suprabhat" (Good morning) and "Shubh ratri" (Good night) are versatile and can be used in both formal and informal contexts. The level of formality is often accentuated by body language, such as a slight bow and palms pressed together in front of the chest, especially when saying "Namaste" or "Namaskar."

Consider the relationship with the recipient when choosing your greeting. A formal greeting is appropriate for new or professional contacts, while an informal one is better for friends or existing customers.

Text India: how to get started

With these tips and recommendations, you're ready to send SMS messages to India with confidence. Whether you're sending a personal message or business communication, understanding the formatting and regulatory compliance is essential to ensure your message gets delivered.

If you’re looking for more guidance on global texting, Telnyx’s team of experts can help you navigate the complexities of international communication. Telnyx is a next-gen communications platform that offers a global private IP network, multi-cloud redundancy, and carrier-grade services. Our developer-friendly SMS API and intelligent features make it easy to build messaging capabilities into your existing apps. We also offer support and guidance to help you grow and scale your business.

With competitive pricing and a wide variety of phone numbers in over 140 countries, Telnyx provides cost-effective messaging solutions with unmatched expertise. Our deliverability reports help businesses optimize their messaging campaigns, while easy implementation and a complete set of features make it easy to get started.

Contact our experts today to learn how we can help your business communicate effectively with contacts in India and 140+ other countries.

Note: This is not legal advice. Consult your legal team and the appropriate regulatory authorities before beginning an SMS message campaign in India.
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