UK Retry Fees


Some Premium SMS services may require retry and failure messages being attempted in order to successfully bill the mobile subscriber after the initial attempt to bill them has failed. Common in mobile subscription services, MT billed short codes can be used to achieve this form of "retry" SMS Billing, where the first attempt didnt get billed because, for example the user was out of credit or out of reception, or had their phone off for a prolonged period of time. 

Even if you don't perform retries on failed messages your service might by it's nature attract a high number of failed messages, e.g. if you are offering free calling or texting to users with no credit. It is important to monitor your failed message ratio to see if these fees may be applicable to you.

At this time, the below UK mobile networks have retries and failure fees, along with reporting available. The other networks do not charge for this. The charging for these can be sporadic, in so much that you might not receive the charges until many months after the messages were sent. It is important that you monitor your own retries and factor in that you could incur costs for these in the future. 




The fee for each attempt (retry or failure) is charged by the mobile network. This fee is is variable due networks changeability on their failure and retry rule set. They are staggered as below:

Vodafone charges will be calculated (but not necessarily invoiced) on a calendar month in relation to:
1) Dedicated short codes
2) Shared shortcode accounts

- Where failed messages are less than 50% of the total sent, no charge is made.
- Where failed messages comprise more than 50% of the total sent, a charge per submission over and above the failed allowance will be made as per the table below.
- The failed allowance is twice the number of successfully delivered submissions on a short code. 

Band Rate - Short code Failure Percentage - Price per failed submission over & above the failed allowance ex VAT
A - Less than 50% -X
B - 50% to 75% - Y
C - Over 75% - Z

The above table shows the price per failed submission (z). The number of failed submissions to which these charges apply is calculated as:
Total submitted messages (y) - Failed allowance (x)
The monthly fee therefore can be simplified as:

Short code 81xxx
Monthly message totals for the short code or April:
Message submitted (y): 20,000
Message failed: 11,000
Messages successful: 9,000

Failed Percentage = 55% (so band B of fees)
Failed allowance (x) is 9,000 (successful messages for April) x {rate} = VALUE

Number of messages to be charged = Total submitted - Failed allowance = 2,000
As the total failed percentage is 55% the charge band is B and so 2,000 messages will be charged at Xp per message plus VAT (z) = VALUE

T-Mobile charges will be applied on a calendar months basis (as above not usually invoiced every month however) for every:
1) Dedicated short code
2) Shared short code account;

- Where the ratio of unsuccessful message submission attempts versus successfully delivered messages exceeds 1:1 on any dedicated short code or shared short code account;
- Where the ratio exceeds 1:1 and a fee therefore applies, the overall of successful versus unsuccessful messages will determine the amount payable for each excess unsuccessful message. The actual amounts are as detailed in the table below:

Ratio of unsuccessful to successful submission attempts (per short code per calendar month) Fee per unsuccessful submission attempt (Pence)
< 1:1 N/A
1:1 - 1:2 W
1:2 - 1:3 X
1:3 - 1:4 Y
> 1:4 Z

The number of successful submissions (x) will be deducted from the number of unsuccessful submission attempts (y) to determine the volume. This figure is then multiplied by the Fee (z) (determined as above) to arrive at the total.
So the total fee will be z (y-x).

Example 1:
Short ode 81xxx
Successful message submissions in April: 2,000
Unsuccessful message submissions in April: 1,000
=> Ratio pf 1:0.5 = Fee of X pence per message
= No fine

Example 2:
Short code 82xxx
Successful message submissions in April: 2,000
Unsuccessful message submissions in April: 10,000
=> Ratio of 1:5 = Fee of X pence per message
Unsuccessful message submissions - Successful message submissions = 8,000
= X pence Fee per message x 8,000
= Fine of {value}  T-Mobile and Vodafone

If your service is generating a high number of failed messages contact your account manager for more information and to get up to the minute advice on SMS Premium retries and SMS failure messages.