Choosing an originator

What is the originator?

An originator is the name or number from which the message is sent.

When you receive a text message, your phone always tells you something about where the SMS comes from, either it says:

  • The name of a company or product

  • A number from which it has been sent

    • If you saved the number in your phone contacts, your phone replaces the number with the contact name.

Originator restrictions

Number of characters

The number of characters that you can use as the originator depends on whether it’s a name or a number. This limit its inherent to SMS format—so, unfortunately, we can’t change this.

  • If you use a company or brand name as the originator, the amount of characters needs to be between 3 and 11.

  • If you use a MessageBird number as the originator, it can be up to 17 digits long.

Using a Number

If you'd like to use a number as the originator, you can use a MessageBird Number, or a non-MessageBird number that you already own. When using a non-MessageBird number, bear in mind that we will not be able to receive replies sent to this number. These are sent to the device where the number is active, such as your mobile phone.

If you are looking to use a MessageBird Number, please check this guide on how to set one up for your account: Buy a Virtual Mobile Number (VMN)

Using your own company name

Generally, an originator should reflect the brand that is sending the SMS. Generic or misleading originators - e.g. NOREPLY, Mail, etc. - will be BLOCKED towards most countries. Your originator should be clearly recognisable and associated with your business. It is strictly NOT allowed to send SMS on behalf of other companies without their consent. This is called phishing and if detected, your account can be suspended.

Please note that it is not allowed to use 'MessageBird' as an originator. Any messages sent with this originator will be blocked.

Local restrictions and registrations

Some countries have local restrictions for sending with a certain type or originator. Your SMS may be blocked, or you may need to register your Originator. Please check here to see what kind of restrictions may be applicable for you: Country Restrictions and Regulations.

You can register your Originators via the Dashboard. Multiple originators can be registered under the same workspace and/or the same originator can be registered multiple times for different countries.

Each Originator (SenderID) registration will have a status , which determines if SMS traffic can be sent or not:

  • Active: the Originator can be used towards the country of registration and will not be blocked

  • Reviewing: the SenderID is being reviewed by MessageBird , no further action are required from you. The originator cannot be used yet.

  • Semi-Active: the SenderID can be used to carry traffic. However, it has been registered prior to a change in the local regulation. As consequence, it is accepted only by certain carriers and/or may lack access to all backups routes used by MessageBird for that target country. Under normal circumstances, the traffic sent under this SenderID will work as expected, but it may be subject to higher chances of failure in case of carrier outage. A duplicate registration request can be submitted in accordance to the most recent regulation to obtain a full Active status.

  • Pending: your request has been transferred to a Carrier / Mobile Operator, following the local regulation. You may be contacted by MessageBird Support team to provide additional info. The originator cannot be used yet.

  • Rejected: the SenderID couldn't be registered. An explanation has been sent to you by email. The SenderID cannot be used to send traffic.

Change the originating name or number of your SMS

To change the originating name or number of your SMS you need to change your originator. There are three ways to do it.


If you are sending directly from within the Dashboard interface, when you are sending your message you will have the option to fill in a Sender ID in the originator box; you can fill in a number, a name, or use a shared or dedicated virtual number (if you have a subscription in your account). You can also define a Default Originator which will be entered as a default name or number whenever you send from within your Dashboard.


If you are sending via API, you just need to change the originator parameter in your API call.

Email to SMS

If you are sending via Email to SMS, it depends on your configuration whether you need to change the subject line in your emails or the saved originator as described here.

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