Text-message campaigns involving short codes are considered one of the most basic forms of mobile marketing in the U.S., but until now they haven't been so simple to launch in Latin America. Using short codes has required negotiating and coordinating text campaigns with multiple wireless carriers across different countries in a time-consuming, costly process.
But a new initiative led by the U.S.-based CTIA and participating wireless operators including America Movil and Telefonica promises to streamline that process by providing marketers with a centralized short code registry to obtain a single six-digit code that can be used for running a unified text campaign across the continent.
The registry will be managed by CTIA, which will be responsible for all aspects of securing a short code including application, receipt, assignment and renewal or expiration. Powering the Web-based platform will be Tampa, Fl-based Syniverse Technologies, a telecom industry technology provider.
"The launch of this service is excellent news for advertising agencies, telecommunication providers and any company offering services and products via SMS to their customers anywhere in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, using the same short code," said Iñaki Urdangarín, chairman of Telefónica International USA, in a statement.
The shift to a centralized system for short codes comes as mobile data and smartphones are on the rise in Latin America. More than 95% of the region's 400 million mobile subscribers have text-capable devices and access to short codes used to generate sweepstakes, voting campaigns and mobile coupons, among other promotions.
Data released by Nielsen Tuesday ahead of the Mobile Marketing Association's annual Latin America forum showed that smartphone sales in Brazil have jumped 128% in the first half of 2010 compared to a year ago and that about 10% of the country's mobile users now own high-end phones.
Zaw Thet, CEO of text-message marketing company 4INFO said the new short code registry for Latin America could lead to an explosion of text-based services. "Now that businesses can be assured of being able to reach the vast majority of wireless subscribers through a single short code, SMS marketing will become a key advantage in the region," he said.