What is the maximum length of a text message?

GSM 03.38 character set

If you use a standard GSM 03.38 character set, single text messages are limited to 160 characters, including spaces. The maximum length of a text message is 918 characters including spaces.

Number of SMS partsTotal number of characters in the linked message

Each concatenated text message is limited to 153 characters, rather than 160 due to the need for user-data headers (UDH) information. Mobile phones use UDH information to enable them to link long messages together so they appear as single SMS messages in recipients’ phones.

The standard character set includes the Roman alphabet and the most common accented forms, certain special characters, and the Greek alphabet. It includes the following characters:

@	Δ	SP	0	¡	P	¿	p
£	_	!	1	A	Q	a	q
$	Φ	"	2	B	R	b	r
¥	Γ	#	3	C	S	c	s
è	Λ	¤	4	D	T	d	t
é	Ω	%	5	E	U	e	u
ù	Π	&	6	F	V	f	v
ì	Ψ	'	7	G	W	g	w
ò	Σ	(	8	H	X	h	x
Ç	Θ	)	9	I	Y	i	y
LF	Ξ	*	:	J	Z	j	z
Ø	ESC	+	;	K	Ä	k	ä
ø	Æ	,	<	L	Ö	l	ö

* LF - Line feed (line break), ESC - Escape character, SP - Space character.

Note: An escape character always precedes the characters { } \ ~ [ ] | ^ €, which therefore takes two characters to send.

Unicode character set

Using unicode, for such languages as Russian, Arabic, or Chinese will restrict your message to a maximum of 70 characters per SMS.

Number of SMS partsTotal number of characters in the linked message

The longer the message (amount of SMS parts), the more it costs. Please use our free SMS length calculator.
Transliterate text message characters from non-Latin to Latin only with the free text transliteration tool.

Back to top