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Building a bulk SMS business in Nigeria can be one of the most worthwhile businesses you will create. In 2001, they introduced the Global System for Mobile Communications to Nigeria. Before GSM, we had about 425,000 analogue phone lines in Nigeria. The number of active mobile phone lines in the country has risen to over 172 million in 2019, 18 years after they launched the GSM service in Nigeria.

One of the major revolutionary technologies that came along with the launch of GSM services is SMS. SMS means Short Message Service and is the most commonly used type of text messaging. Even with introducing mobile messaging by WhatsApp and Telegram, SMS messaging is still very relevant. A page of SMS is 160 characters; You can send multiple pages of text messages from one mobile phone to another.

Text messaging can define as a system of communication that sends SMS between mobile phones or from a computer, handheld device to a mobile phone.  It was in 1984, that Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert created SMS. Today, SMS allow us to get informed and receive bank alert, keep in touch with our customers and much more.


Some key factors played a major role in the launching of bulk SMS services in Nigeria. They are;

1. The fast growth of mobile phone subscribers.  Every Nigerian saw the acquisition of a mobile phone as a necessity rather than a luxury. It was easy for the number of mobile phones to exceed the number of TVs and computers put together.

2. The Mobile Operators seeing that mobile phone subscription was growing at an unprecedented rate cashed in on the opportunity.  They started offering value-added services to their subscribers to make additional revenue.  This created an avenue for SMS gateway providers to approach Mobile Operators with the business idea of bulk SMS messaging. A win-win situation for both parties.

 Bulk SMS messaging started with the Mobile Operators and SMS gateways reaching a commercial agreement to deliver text messages to the subscribers of the Mobile Operators for a fee. Armed with that agreement, it was easy for the SMS gateways to convince individuals and organization to buy and sell SMS in bulk. This was how the bulk SMS providers came about.  In the same manner, bulk SMS resellers connected with bulk SMS providers to resell bulk SMS.

There are five key participants in the bulk SMS business in Nigeria.

1. Mobile Operators

2. SMS Gateways

3. Bulk SMS Providers

4. Bulk SMS resellers

5.The Nigeria communication commission, NCC


Bulk SMS Business The Mobile Operators Role
Bulk SMS Business The Mobile Operators Role

The current mobile network operators in Nigeria are MTN, 9mobile, Glo, Airtel and Ntel. The role the mobile operators play in the bulk SMS business is very important. In the entire process of bulk SMS delivery, they play the most vital role. Mobile networks are the connection to the recipients. They determine the delivery of the bulk SMS messages. To run a mobile network in Nigeria demands very capital investment. The Nigeria communication commission NCC licenses all mobile networks operators.

  Here are some of the roles the mobile operators play.

1. They provide access to the recipients’ of the bulk SMS Message. They connect the recipients to the mobile network through mobile networks towers.

2. They determine the price of bulk SMS. This is because the SMS gateway will have to negotiate with them for the access fee to the subscribers.

3. They manage the customers on DND (Do Not Disturb) list.

4. The mobile network operators provide spam filtering and fraud detection.

5. They are responsible for whitelisting and blacklisting bulk SMS sender IDs on their systems. They get the sender IDs from the SMS gateways when submitted by the Bulk SMS Providers.

6. They also have their own bulk SMS portal that they offer as a service to corporate customers.


Bulk SMS business SMS gateway providers role
Bulk SMS business SMS gateway providers role

The SMS gateway providers offer the infrastructure and technologies for the mobile networks to run their SMS message systems.  They work with technologies like SMPP and SS7. The Nigeria communication commission NCC licenses all SMS gateway providers operating in Nigeria. 
Here are some roles the SMS gateway providers play.

1. They offer 600+ direct-to-carrier connections all over the world.

2. They run huge data centres to process the billions of messages sent daily.

3. They carry out message content analysis using SS7 and SMPP.

4. They give the bulk SMS provider access to the mobile operators’ network via their APIs

5. They offer the bulk SMS provider web portal for real-time monitoring and reporting for bulk SMS messages.

6. They have offices around the world to manage the relationship with the Mobile networks, enterprise clients and bulk SMS Providers.

7. Communicate with the individual mobile networks for bulk SMS sender ID registration.

8. They give technical support to bulk SMS providers.


corporate businessman
corporate businessman

The bulk SMS provider offers the API to individuals to organizations through which they can send bulk SMS messages. They integrate the API into the bulk SMS providers’ web portal. It requires the customers to open a bulk SMS account on the website of the bulk SMS provider.  The bulk SMS provider does not need the Nigeria communication commission NCC license to operate.  Here are some roles the bulk SMS provider play:

1. They offer web API for customers to open a bulk SMS account.

2. They provide customer support services to the bulk SMS service clients.

3. They offer low minimum SMS credits to customers. You can buy as low as 1000 SMS credits from a bulk SMS provider. However, this is not possible with the SMS gateway.

4. They collate the bulk SMS sender ID from the customers and submit them to the SMS gateway who in turn sends them to the individual mobile networks for registration.

5. They manage the relationship with customers.

6. They are retail the services of the SMS gateway providers.


bulk SMS reseller role
bulk SMS reseller role

The bulk SMS Reseller is actually reselling the bulk SMS of the bulk SMS provider. All they need to do this is a laptop and internet connectivity. It is a great business opportunity for fresh graduates just out of university. You can do it if you looking for a side hustle to make extra income. Here are some roles the bulk SMS reseller play.

  1. They reseller for the bulk SMS provider.
  2. They help individuals and organization to send their bulk SMS marketing campaigns. Some bulk SMS reseller help people planning for wedding events to send their wedding SMS invitation. They make a margin on each of the bulk SMS credit.
  3. Bulk SMS reseller can also have their own website if they desire.

Do you want to be bulk SMS reseller? Contact us


Nigeria communication commission NCC role
Nigeria communication commission NCC role

The Nigerian Communications Commission is the autonomous Regulatory Authority for Nigeria’s telecommunications industry. NCC is in charge of providing the best environment for carrying out the telecommunication business. It is also responsible for making sure the delivery of quality and efficient telecommunications services throughout the country. NCC is a very reputable Telecom regulatory agency respected in Africa and all over the world. 

The act establishing the Nigerian Communications Commission brought into law by the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) on July 8, 2003 after passing through the National Assembly of Nigeria. The mandate provides the NCC with the capacity to carry out its Regulatory functions and activities.

Here are some roles the Nigerian Communications Commission play.

  1. They license Mobile network operators.
  2. NCC licenses the SMS gateways to operate in Nigeria.
  3. The Commission gives directions on all bulk SMS related issues to the mobile networks and SMS gateways.
  4. They ensure that subscribers are not barraged with fraudulent, spam and unsolicited messages.
  5. They enforce measures to sanitize the bulk SMS messaging business e.g. the implementation of do not disturb, DND.


Major Challenges of bulk SMS business in Nigeria
Major Challenges of bulk SMS business in Nigeria

The bulk SMS business in Nigeria has its own fair share of challenges. Here are some of the major challenges facing the bulk SMS business in Nigeria.

  1. SPAM/SCAM MESSAGES: The bulk SMS services in Nigeria has been barrage with spam and fraud messages from a fraudulent individual. This has been a major challenge for the mobile networks, SMS gateways and bulk SMS providers. Many mobile phone subscribers have fallen victim to the schemes of fraudsters using bulk SMS services.  The Mobile networks, NCC, banks and bulk SMS providers have been educating members of the public how not to fall for the fraudsters.
  • UNSOLICITED MESSAGES: When individual and organization send unsolicited bulk SMS messages. The recipients find the messages irritating and annoying message. This was a huge menace before the Nigerian Communications Commission directed all the mobile network operators to implement do not disturb, DND on their systems.  This gave the subscribers the chance to opt-out of receiving unsolicited messages.
  • DO NOT DISTURB, DND: Nigerian Communications Commission seeing the dangers of spam, fraudulent and unsolicited bulk SMS messages gave the mobile networks a directive for implement do not disturb, DND. However, DND has its downside to the delivery of genuine bulk SMS messages meant for authentic purposes. Some individuals currently do not receive bulk SMS messages anymore from their churches, children’s school because of the implementation of do not disturb, DND. To bypass DND organization will have to use financial or transactional routes that are reserved for financial institutions only. We hope that the transactional route will be made available to other businesses with legitimate reasons for contacting their customers.
  • NETWORK COVERAGE AND CONGESTION: Sometimes the recipients of the bulk SMS message may not be within the network coverage area. This leads to poor delivery of the bulk SMS messages thereby affecting the business. Additionally, the network can experience congestion especially during high traffic season like festive periods, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

With the increasing number of mobile phones in Nigeria, the use of bulk SMS services has also increased hugely. The banks need bulk SMS for sending their customers transactions alerts. The schools use bulk SMS messages to send school payment reminders to parents. Nigerians use bulk SMS messages to send happy new month greetings, wedding invitations, Christmas and Sallah greetings.   The bulk SMS business in Nigeria is not losing relevance anytime soon. It’s our opinion that it has come to say because of the ubiquitous nature of the mobile phone in Nigeria.

Do you want to join the bulk SMS business in Nigeria? Contact us. 

Email: Info@141sms.com, Mobile Sales:+2348062145589

start bulk sms business in Nigeria
start bulk SMS business in Nigeria

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