What are grey routes and why shouldn't you use them?

We’re all guilty of looking at price first when comparing products and services but would you compromise the speed, reliability and security of your text messages and risk compromising your customer’s personal information to save a couple of pence?

What are grey routes?

A ‘grey route’ is a very unreliable, but cheap way of sending bulk SMS by bouncing the text messages between several international networks before they reach the handset to avoid operator costs. Messages sent via grey routes regularly get delayed, lost or suddenly blocked, and you won’t receive any delivery receipts.

Exploiting vulnerabilities

Grey routing is a way of sending bulk text messages by exploiting a vulnerability of mobile networks. If you’re sending a message from one UK handset to another, your message won’t normally leave the UK. However, when using grey routes, your messages will be sent via several international networks before being passed back to the UK. This is unsafe as messages sent through grey routes can be read, copied and even changed.

Lost messages

Grey routes are often shut down suddenly due to a network realising what’s happening, which can result in messages being completely lost and never reaching the intended handsets.

How do you know if you’re using a grey route?

The price is often the first indicator you’re using a grey route. If your price is a lot lower than anywhere else you’ve been quoted there’s a good chance you’re sending through these unsecure routes.

It’s not always enough to ask your provider if they use ‘direct connections’ as some providers do have access to these routes but choose to send via grey routes to save money. Ask your provider if they ever use grey routes or if they send via anything other than a direct connection to the UK networks. By sending through direct routes you’ll receive delivery receipts which should come back as delivered within a couple of seconds.

We send all messages from Textburst, Clockwork, SurveyMill and Florence directly to the UK networks. That’s why we have among the best delivery rates you’ll find.

As they say, you always get what you pay for and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

If you have any questions about grey routes or would like to chat about your SMS needs, please get in touch.