A customer of ours did research on the various ways to receive incoming SMS in an application. We do not have explicit permission from them to share this, so, If you are the one who authored this:


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Quoting them:


Three different ways of collecting SMSes:

1. Signing a contract with India's mobile phone providers
Organisations can sign a contract with the mobile phone providers in their country for:
  1. Reserving a specific phone number for receiving SMS traffic
  2. Ensuring that all SMS traffic to this phone number is sent to the project server

Advantages
  • High capacity connection
  • Possibility to set up a shortcode phone number (a short and recognisable 4-digit phone number)
  • Possibility to set up a toll-free number
Disadvantages
  • The setup time is long, as it takes considerable time to sign contracts with all providers. If all providers will participate is uncertain. 
  • Providers might have differing pricing schemes
  • The reliability of the connection is dependent on the mobile phone providers' technical staff


2. Using a dedicated smartphone
Organisations can use a smartphone connected to a wall socket for receiving SMS traffic. A small application on the phone will receive all SMSes and send them on to the project server.

Advantages
  • Easy and short setup
  • Relatively low running costs: standard Standard SMS costs + costs of a 3G internet connection

Disadvantages
  • The organisation needs to purchase a phone
  • The connection is relatively unreliable, as it can be affected by suboptimal mobile internet, device failure or potential power cuts. 
  • The connection has relatively low capacity, as it is dependent on the phone's capacity to send and retrieve SMSes. It is therefore not suitable for sending and retrieving large amounts of SMSes at a time.
  • No possibility to use a shortcode phone number
  • No possibility to use a toll-free phone number


3. Using an international SMS gateway
Organisations can retrieve SMSes by signing up for an international SMS gateway. The advantages are:
  • Easy and short setup
  • Highly secure and stable connection
  • High-capacity connection
  • No hardware required

The following online services are available:

Exotel.in

+ good client support

+ documented api

- a bit more expensive

 

Prices: 

Incoming SMS: 5p/SMS

Phone numbers have a monthly rental. around 3000 Rs per month

User Rs. 99/user/month

 

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SMS Lane

- most expensive

- lacks sufficient technical support

- limited documentation

 

Prices:

Their pricing scheme is rather confusing

 

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mVayoo

 

+ the cheapest option

+ potentially a higher reliability due to the size of the company

- lacking sufficient technical support

- the technical specification for sending SMSes is uncharacteristic (specific for mVayoo) and would require a few tweaks to Elva


Prices:

Phone number: Rs.1,500 /month and added costs for SMSes


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Clickatell
+ good client support
+ documented api
  • Shortcode phone numbers not available in all countries or expensive (for India more than $1000 per month)
  • No possibility to set up a toll-free number
  • Added costs of 1.3 dollar cent per received message
  • Setup cost is $544 and running costs are 136 dollars per month