The SMS character limit is 160 characters.

160 characters is a worldwide SMS standard. Each letter, number, line break, space, carriage and emoji adds to your character count.

  • 1 SMS = 160 characters
  • 1 space = 1 character
  • 1 line break = 1 character
  • Emojis = reduce your character count to 70 rather than 160 (keep reading to learn why)
  • Maximum concatenated message = 612 (4 x SMS) 
  • Foreign language characters = vary

We have created a handy tool SMS Character Counter to help you check your count. 

What happens if I go over 160 characters?

You can send longer messages up to 612 characters. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should! Tips and templates have been written in our blog article Why 160 Characters Is All You Need.  

Your messages will be joined together to appear as one long message using concatenation. Concatenation uses special characters (UTF8 coding) to join the messages together - but don't worry as these special characters are invisible. We wrote a quick explainer on concatenation here

However, the concatenated SMS will still be charged separately.

Example: If you have a message that is 2 SMS in length and you send it to 500 contacts, then you will be charged for 1000 messages.

The use of characters to join the messages creates inconsistencies in the length of SMS. See table below for the exact count.

Number of SMSCharacters

 When using UTF8 Character

4 (Max)612268

Characters using UTF8 character encoding limits the SMS to 70 characters. So you pay for the first 70 (and 67 thereafter) instead of the first 160 (and lower thereafter) as with standard text. UTF8: Click here for more information on Wikipedia (opens in new tab).

How many characters do emojis use?

Unicode characters are larger in bytes and will decrease your SMS character limit from 160 to 70. Read our article 'How to add Emojis into your message' and check out our handy list of UTF-8 emoji codes. Simply copy and paste the code into your SMS!

What is the character count for an MMS?

See our article Everything You Need To Know About MMS

Extra Resources: