MO (Mobile Originated) SMS

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Aayush Bangali

mins read

June 22, 2024

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Key Takeaways

  • MO SMS (Mobile Originated SMS) refers to messages sent from a mobile device to another user or application, essential for two-way communication in SMS services.
  • MO SMS is widely used in user authentication processes, adding an extra layer of security by requiring users to send a verification code from their mobile device.
  • With over 20 billion SMS messages sent daily globally, MO SMS plays a significant role in communication, particularly in industries like finance, e-commerce, and healthcare.
  • MO SMS is known for its simplicity, reliability, and global reach, making it a versatile and effective communication method even in areas with limited internet connectivity.
  • The use of protocols like SMPP for MO SMS ensures reliable message transmission, and with the rise of IoT, MO SMS is expected to play a crucial role in machine-to-machine communication.

As of 2023, the global volume of SMS messages sent daily exceeds ‘20 billion’, with a significant portion being MO SMS.

The A2P (Application-to-Person) messaging market, which includes MO SMS, was valued at around $62.1 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $74.7 billion by 2025.

This growth reflects the increasing reliance on SMS for customer communication and verification purposes. SMS technology remains fundamental despite the rise of various instant messaging applications.

SMS can be categorized into two types: Mobile Originated (MO) SMS and Mobile Terminated (MT) SMS. Understanding the difference between these two types is crucial for anyone involved in mobile communications, digital marketing, or user verification. This article explores the concept of MO SMS, its uses, benefits, and significance in various fields.

What is MO?

MO stands for Mobile Originated. It refers to messages that are sent from a mobile device. When a user composes and sends a text message from their phone, it is considered an MO message. This type of SMS is initiated by the mobile user and travels from the mobile device to the mobile network and then to the intended recipient, which could be another mobile user or an application.

What is MO SMS?

Mobile Originated (MO) SMS specifically refers to text messages that are sent from a mobile device. The process begins when a user types a message on their mobile phone and presses the send button. The message is then transmitted from the user's device to the mobile network, which routes it to the destination. MO SMS is a fundamental part of two-way communication in SMS services, allowing users to initiate contact, respond to messages, and interact with various services.

Difference Between MO and MT SMS

To fully grasp the concept of MO SMS, it's essential to understand how it differs from MT SMS:

  1. MO SMS (Mobile Originated): As mentioned, these are messages sent from a mobile device. The user initiates the communication by sending a message, which is then routed through the mobile network to the recipient.
  1. MT SMS (Mobile Terminated): These are messages received by a mobile device. MT SMS is initiated by an application or another mobile user and delivered to the mobile user’s device. It "terminates" on the mobile device, hence the name.

In essence, MO SMS is the message you send from your phone, while MT SMS is the message you receive on your phone.

Example Use Cases of MO and MT SMS

To illustrate the difference between MO and MT SMS, let's consider a few practical examples:

  1. MO SMS: A user sends a text message to a friend to arrange a meetup. This is a Mobile Originated SMS since the message originates from the user's mobile device.
  2. MT SMS: A user receives a text notification from their bank about a recent transaction. This is a Mobile Terminated SMS since the message is initiated by the bank's system and terminates on the user's mobile device.

How MO SMS Can Be Used in User Authentication

MO SMS plays a crucial role in user authentication processes, particularly in two-factor authentication (2FA) and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Here’s how it works:

  1. User Initiates Authentication: The user attempts to log in to an online service or application that requires authentication.
  2. Authentication Request: The service sends a prompt to the user’s mobile device asking them to send an MO SMS with a specific code or keyword.
  3. User Sends MO SMS: The user sends the requested code via an MO SMS to the designated number.
  4. Verification: The service receives the MO SMS, verifies the code, and grants access to the user if the code is correct.

This process adds an extra layer of security by ensuring that the user has physical access to the mobile device associated with their account.

Benefits of MO SMS

MO SMS offers several benefits, making it a valuable tool for communication and security:

  1. Simplicity: Sending an MO SMS is straightforward and familiar to most mobile users.
  2. Global Reach: MO SMS works across different mobile networks and countries, making it a versatile communication method.
  3. Reliability: SMS services are generally reliable, with high delivery rates even in areas with limited internet connectivity.
  4. Security: MO SMS can be used for secure multi factor authentication processes, enhancing user security.

Total Traffic of MO SMS Globally

The global traffic of MO SMS has seen significant growth over the years, driven by the widespread use of mobile phones and the increasing demand for SMS-based services. While precise figures fluctuate annually, it is estimated that billions of MO SMS messages are sent globally each year. This volume underscores the continued relevance of SMS in modern communication, despite the rise of internet-based messaging services.


The Short Message Peer-to-Peer (SMPP) protocol is widely used in the telecommunications industry to exchange SMS messages between Short Message Service Centres (SMSC) and external messaging entities. SMPP supports both MO and MT SMS, facilitating the transmission of messages in a reliable and standardized manner. In the context of MO SMS, SMPP enables mobile devices to send messages to SMSCs, which then route the messages to their final destinations.

MO and MT SMS have diverse applications across various industries:

1. Hyperscalers (Cloud Service Providers):

MO SMS: Used for user authentication and account recovery processes.

MT SMS: Used for sending notifications about service updates, billing alerts, and security warnings.

2. E-commerce Websites:

MO SMS: Customers send queries or requests for support via SMS.

MT SMS: Businesses send order confirmations, delivery updates, and promotional messages to customers. You can leverage our Message Now API to achieve all your messaging needs, contact our team at Message central to know more.

3. OTT (Over-The-Top) Services:

MO SMS: Users subscribe to services or provide feedback via SMS.

MT SMS: OTT providers send content recommendations, subscription renewals, and usage alerts.

4. Finance Applications:

MO SMS: Users initiate transactions or request account information via SMS.

MT SMS: Banks send transaction alerts, OTPs (One-Time Passwords) verification codes, and account balance updates.

Other Important Facts and Figures About MO SMS

  • Historical Context: The concept of SMS dates back to the 1980s, and MO SMS has been integral to its functionality since the early days of mobile communication.
  • Technological Evolution: With the advent of 4G and 5G technologies, the capacity and efficiency of SMS services, including MO SMS, have significantly improved.
  • Future Trends: As the Internet of Things (IoT) expands, MO SMS is expected to play a crucial role in machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, enabling devices to send status updates and alerts via SMS.  


MO SMS, which allows users to send messages to other users and applications from their mobile devices, is an essential component of mobile communication. Its simplicity, reliability, and global reach make it an essential tool for personal communication, user authentication, and a variety of business applications. Understanding the nuances of MO SMS, including its differences from MT SMS, its role in user authentication, and its applications across different industries, is crucial for leveraging this technology effectively. As mobile communication continues to evolve, MO SMS remains a vital part of the landscape by offering secure and efficient messaging solutions.

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