GSM Characters


SMS texts are limited to a basic character set (GSM characters) and a maximum of 160 characters because of the way the text is encoded and transmitted. Certain special characters outside the GSM character set may still be sent and are worth two GSM characters, so your total character count will be lower.

  • A standard SMS text message can contain characters from the GSM-7 character set which includes all latin characters from A-Z, digits 0-9 and a few special characters (a quick reference guide can be found here; GSM Character Table)

For example, the message:

What makes you smile? :]

Is worth one character for each blue GSM character and two characters for the orange “special” characters: Because this message has 24 GSM characters plus 1 special character, the text is worth 26 characters total.

Take the guesswork out of texting and check your characters using the tool below!


Is your message more than the character limit of SMS?

Don’t worry,  we’ve got your back. We can send unicode as well to ensure you can use those special characters in larger messages.