- There are various regulations to enable A2P messaging in the UAE including TDRA registration for A2P SMS, sender ID requirements etc.
- Organizations also have to adhere to promotional SMS guidelines, opt out instructions, URL filterting and penalties
- There is a sequential order of steps to be followed like TRA registration, select and SMS gateway provider etc.
- There is a separate set of requirements for international companies to be able to send A2P SMS
- Additional considerations like time restrictions, special characters in sender ID etc. are also there
To send SMS messages to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it's crucial to navigate a series of stringent regulations and requirements. The same is the case with a lot of middle eastern nations. Here's an in-depth guide to help you understand and comply with these rules. You can also contact the team at Message Central for more help.
UAE SMS Regulations Overview
- Strict Regulation Environment: The UAE has stringent messaging regulations, and mobile carriers enforce strict filters on all SMS messages. This affects the delivery of even critical or time-sensitive (Application-to-Person) A2P messages.
- Sender ID Registration: All SMS messages must be sent from registered Sender IDs. Unregistered Sender IDs will be blocked. Alpha Sender IDs should be case-sensitive and include the brand name. Numeric and generic Sender IDs (e.g., INFO, SMS) are prohibited.
- TDRA Registration for A2P SMS: Organizations sending A2P SMS to UAE customers must register their messaging traffic with the UAE Telecommunications and Digital Regulatory Authority (TRDA).
- Promotional SMS Guidelines: Promotional SMS messages must start with the prefix "AD-" and are only allowed between 7 AM and 9 PM UAE standard time. They cannot contain political, religious, unsolicited promotion, gambling content, or links to WhatsApp/LINE chats. Marketing traffic must have prior consent, and effective unsubscribe facilities should be available.
- Opt-Out Instructions: Each SMS message must include an opt-out option within the text body. This regulation does not apply to databases of customers who have given written consent to receive messages.
- Content Restrictions: Sending gambling, adult content, money/loan, political, religious, controlled substance, cannabis, and alcohol-related content is strictly prohibited.
- Health Services Content: For health services related Sender ID registration, an approval letter from the UAE health authorities is required.
- URL Filtering and Penalties: URLs in messages are sensitive, and unapproved URLs can lead to delivery issues. Violations of format can result in significant penalties.
Step-by-Step Guide for Sending SMS to the UAE
- Obtain TRA Registration: Register with the TRA to obtain a license for sending A2P SMS messages in the UAE. This involves an application form, relevant documentation, and applicable fees.
- Select an SMS Gateway Provider: Choose a reputable provider like Message Now, offering reliable connectivity and support.
- Integrate SMS Gateway API: Incorporate the provider's SMS API into your system for seamless SMS transmission.
- Apply for SMS Sender ID: This unique identifier will appear as the sender of your messages. The TRA reviews and approves these IDs.
- Localize and Personalize SMS Content: Adapt messages to the UAE’s cultural context, language preferences, and personalize them for the recipients.
- Comply with Data Privacy Laws: Follow the UAE's Personal Data Protection Law when handling customer data for SMS marketing.
- Include Opt-Out in SMS: Ensure each message has an opt-out instruction in English or Arabic.
- Monitor and Test SMS Service: Regularly check delivery rates and feedback for continuous improvement.
Specifics for International Companies
International companies need to register with a TRA-approved SMS gateway provider. The process includes providing a trade license or equivalent, identification documents, a letter of authorization, and payment of the registration fee.
- Time Restrictions: SMS messages are restricted to certain hours, typically between 7 AM and 9 PM.
- Consent Database: For promotional messages, maintaining a consent database on the Consent Management Service (CMS) platform is mandatory.
- Special Characters in Sender IDs: Only specific special characters are allowed.
- Understanding and complying with these regulations is essential for successfully sending SMS messages to the UAE. It ensures legal compliance and effective message delivery, crucial for any SMS-based communication strategy, especially for services like Message Now.