SMS has become a formidable method of communication for businesses to reach and communicate with customers.
In the realm of SMS business communication, there are numerous types of SMS messages you can send, including Person-to-Person (P2P) and Application-to-Person (A2P).
Depending on the size of the company, both P2P and A2P SMS can be implemented in a company’s outreach and SMS strategy, although A2P SMS is far more common the larger the business.
In this guide, we’ll cover key information on P2P and A2P SMS, including their uses, and differences.
Before we break down the differences between P2P and A2P SMS, let’s take a closer look at P2P SMS.
What Is P2P SMS?
P2P SMS stands for Person-to-Person short messaging service and is a basic text messaging exchange between a sender and a recipient.
In other words, P2P SMS is when two or more people communicate over text messages.
P2P SMS messages tend to be two-way and aren’t typically used for commercial purposes.
That said, it’s important to gain a distinction between P2P SMS and A2P SMS to understand why A2P SMS is used more frequently.
P2P Vs A2P SMS: Key Differences
While both P2P and A2P SMS have their uses, they have key differences that are important to understand.
The differences between P2P and A2P SMS include, but are not limited to:
- Message origin
- Their uses
- Their purpose and price
- Message volume
1. Message Origin
One of the main differences between A2P SMS and P2P is the message origin.
The way P2P SMS works is by sending a text message to a mobile user from a mobile phone.
Contrastingly, the way A2P SMS works is by sending SMS messages to mobile users and customers at scale from an application.
Messages can be personalised and automated, emphasising the convenience of businesses using A2P SMS to interact and inform customers.
Messages that don’t originate from a mobile device with a SIM card, then, are considered to be A2P messages with the exception of Call Me messages.
2. Their Uses
A key difference between P2P SMS and A2P SMS is their uses.
A2P SMS is predominantly used by businesses for marketing and commercial purposes to send messages in bulk to numerous recipients simultaneously.
A2P SMS’ various uses can include:
- Appointment reminders – Appointment reminders help to keep no-show attendance rates low and profits high.
- Promotional SMS marketing campaigns – A highly effective way to engage and entice customers is through SMS marketing campaigns.
- Emergency alerts and notifications – To keep customers informed about changing circumstances or immediate emergencies on a global scale.
P2P SMS, on the other hand, is used for personal communication between individuals, such as between colleagues internally.
3. Their Purpose & Price
A key difference between P2P and A2P SMS is their purpose.
While A2P SMS is designed to reach people and customers at scale, P2P SMS is designed to reach just a few recipients.
Generally speaking, A2P messaging tends to cost more than P2P as businesses must pay for an application to send their texts or notifications.
Our research at Mobilesquared has revealed that the average cost for a brand to send an SMS internationally has nearly doubled from $0.033 to $0.0646 from 2021 to 2023, highlighting a key shift in the SMS market.
That said, there are exceptions where P2P SMS is more expensive than A2P, especially when it comes to sending international text messages.
4. Message Volume
A key difference between P2P and A2P is message volume.
A2P SMS facilitates sending high-volume messages to numerous recipients in many locations and remains a highly effective way to quickly communicate with customers.
When paired with the fact that 55% of all SMSes are read, it’s not difficult to see why businesses are capitalising on the volume and reach of A2P SMS and are buying A2P SMS data to create targeted messages that prioritise the customer experience.
P2P SMS, on the other hand, involves low-volume messages that focus on individual or small-group interactions.
P2P Vs A2P SMS: The Contrast
While some businesses may use P2P SMS to facilitate sales, support, and/or communication, using A2P SMS in your SMS strategy is more convenient, cost-efficient, and scalable.
P2P SMS is limited in numerous ways, from the fact that you can’t send messages in bulk to the reality that two-way communication can be impossible if the numbers aren’t the same country as the recipient.
Contrastingly, Mobilesquared forecasts that the A2P SMS industry is set to grow by 87% between 2019 and 2025.
In spite of growing challenges, such as the fact that A2P SMS is subject to rules and regulations from the service provider and industry regulating bodies as well as the increasing prices to send SMS internationally, the A2P SMS market still shows promising growth.
Our research at Mobilesquared thus emphasises that for the majority of enterprise-level organisations, then, A2P SMS remains a primary and critical messaging channel in 2023 and beyond.
If you’re looking to invest in your SMS strategy, our A2P SMS DATASET & REPORT 2017-2027 is updated annually and provides regional analysis outlining the impact of all major developments affecting the marketplace, and what it means for the short, medium, and long-term future of A2P SMS messaging.
We hope that this guide has given you a wider perspective on P2P and A2P SMS.
We are Mobilesquared: mobile engagement specialists delivering the very best independent mobile market intelligence to our clients. We are the established #1 global authority on business messaging and CPaaS, with our data shaping business plans, strategy, and customer engagement modelling, for some of the world’s leading brands, mobile operators, and messaging providers.
To learn more about our services, including the Messageverse, be sure to get in touch via telephone (01182149 777) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about what we do and discover how we can help your business.
Written by Jemima, for Mobilesquared.