Understanding SMS Segments and MMS

2 min read

SMS and Segments

Do you remember when your text messages were limited to 160 characters? They still are...kinda. SMS messages still limited to 160 simple characters, which are called 'segments', in order to fit network limitations. So if somebody sends a message with 300 characters, the message is broken down into two segments of 160 characters for the first segment and 140 characters for the second segment, then sent sequentially. You probably won't recognize this happening nowadays because our cell phones are capable of piecing the message together to appear as one long message, instead of individual segments. Even though that 300 character message appears to be one long message, it is still 2 SMS segments, meaning you'll be charged accordingly. Note: Emojis change the limits of segments. Once emojis are added, segments are limited to 70 characters.

MMS (Images and Videos)

Any images or videos that are sent are referred to as MMS. MMS messages are limited to 1-2MB depending on the carrier. If you attach an image or video that is larger than 1 MB, Beetexting will automatically upload it to the cloud and generate a link so that we can deliver the file. So if you attach an image and it sends as a link, don't worry! We're just making sure that your image or video is delivered.


A lot of files that you would attach to an email cannot be sent through text (docs, pdf, xls, csv, etc.). Since Beetexting is Business-class texting, we wanted to give you the ability to send those business documents. We achieve this by using the same system that we use if an image or video is over 1 MB. We upload that document to the cloud and then send a link to your recipient to view the document.

How You'll Be Charged

Example 1 - SMS + Image/Video (Under 1MB)

Say you send a message that is 200 characters long you also attach an image that is 750KB. How will this message be broken down for billing?

The text or SMS portion of your message will have to be sent as 2 segments (160 characters and 40 characters), and then the image would send separately. That means you would be charged for 2 SMS segments and 1 MMS per message sent.

Example 2 - SMS + Image/Video (Over 1MB)

How about if the image is 1.5 MB along with 200 characters of text?

The text would be broken down in the same way, 2 SMS segments. The image would then be sent as a link for your recipient to view. Since the actual image is not being sent and it is only a link using simple characters, you would be charged for an SMS segment, not an MMS. To wrap it up, this message would cost you 3 SMS segments per message sent.

Example 3 - SMS + Attachment

In this example, you send a 100 character text message with a Word.doc file.

The text would be 1 segment, then we would generate a link for your document. That would be a total of 2 SMS segments per message sent.

Example 4 - SMS

Lastly and the most straightforward, I'll run through some examples of how you'll be charged for various character counts within your SMS messages.

Character Count/160 = Segments (Always round up)

1 character = 1 segment

160 characters = 1 segment

161 characters = 2 segments

200 characters = 2 segments

350 characters = 3 segments

500 characters = 4 segments