Audience: CEO, Owner, Manager, Dispatcher
Read Time: 10 Minutes


This article describes how SMS messages are billed within your FASTTRAK software.

As of June 2022, the billing structure described below has NOT been put into place. We expect this to be put into place sometime in 2022. Regardless, you should be aware of upcoming changes and familiarize yourself with how you can tailor communication and cost longer-term.

Customer will be notified prior to the SMS billing changes below.

Your FASTTRAK Software bundled with an SMS subscription allows you to send a variety of communication to your customers, affiliates and employees. Although FASTTRAK does not limit the amount of TXT message you send, there will be incremental overage charges applied when you send excessive messages from the FASTTRAK software. These overages will be based on the number of individual segments sent and not necessarily the number of messages.

Keep in mind, you can specifically tailor which SMS messages get sent at the global level and at the individual customer level. Disabling SMS for events that are not needed will greatly decrease the number of SMS segments sent and the overall SMS costs. See the Global Settings => Notifications area within your FASTTRAK software or contact support for more information.


It is important that you the operator inspect high segment messages and determine if the increased SMS messaging costs justify the value of sending SMS in your operation. 


SMS Costs and Message Segment Summary

Twilio (our SMS provider) has some detailed information on message segments which you can read about here.

We have summarized important points below regarding SMS message "Segments" and overall costs.

  • Messages are billed to FASTTRAK by the number of "segments", not the number of individual messages.
  • A single SMS message is broken into segments based on the number of characters in the message.
  • Messages with "Standard" (GSM-7) characters are limited to 160 characters per segment.
  • Messages with non-standard characters (UCS-2) are limited to 70 characters per segment.
  • When multiple messages are joined together, the limits are decreased slightly to accommodate joining them together (153 for GSM-7 and 67 for UCS-2)

In addition to per segment fees, individual carriers (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) charge additional fees to send SMS on their networks. Individual Carrier costs are not individually tracked and costs for each carrier are assumed by FASTTRAK and averaged across all SMS messaging costs. 

Message Calculator

Twilio has an interactive tool that you can use to inspect individual messages and determine which characters/messages are being sent in UCS-7 and causing increased overall costs.

You can find the Message Calculator here.  

Twilio Smart Pilot

FASTTRAK will automatically "swap" smart characters if possible using a tool at Twilio called Smart Pilot. This is already in place and is working well within the FASTRAK Platform. However, this integration has it limits and will NOT remove all special characters. For this reason, it is important that you the operator inspect high segment messages and determine if the increased SMS messaging costs justify the value of sending SMS in your business.

FASTTRAK UI/Application Feedback

FASTTRAK Tracks All Segment Counts

FASTTRAK now tracks all SMS messages using actual segment counts from Twilio. This information will be provided to the operator as necessary to support SMS billing. Message-level segment count information is available now from SMS message queues (described below) and will be included in a cost dashboard sometime in the near future as the new SMS billing is rolled out.

SMS Queues (Outgoing/Incoming)

We have added a few insights into your message queue to help track the number of segments being sent. You will find additional columns in the SMS Queue showing the number of segments for each message.

Send SMS TXT/E-mail Messages Form

The Send screen now includes a number of feedback items to help distinguish non-GCM messages and potentially increased message segments.

Send SMS Form will check for non-GSM chars when entered: 
  • Red background if message contains non-GSM
  • Added segment count to lower left label
  • Link to this document for more information
  • Added red label that will prompt on click describing the non-GSM character issue