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HLR lookups for messaging: Only pay for what you send

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Advanced SMS guides Templates & examples 3 min read | wrote in blog on February 10, 2019

Do you have a customer database running into tens or hundreds of thousands of contacts? Are you managing years of data but are unsure of the validity of the mobile numbers? Perhaps you are dealing with a CRM where both mobile numbers and landlines are combined – or look the same, as is the case in the US?

Without knowing if a mobile number is active, businesses can spend more than necessary on their SMS messaging. Sending text messages to inactive, invalid or unrecognisable numbers wastes resources on messages that will never be read.

Home location register (HLR) lookups provide a simple way to clean your database by removing these numbers, so you only pay for messages delivered to actual customers.

How HLR lookups work

Mobile carriers hold information on every phone subscription on their networks. Using HLR lookups gives you access to information about any mobile number, in real-time, anywhere in the world.

Running an HLR lookup against all numbers in your database determines which numbers are valid and reachable. Lookups provide additional information about mobile numbers that enables database cleaning by removing numbers with an invalid area code, those that are too long or too short, or use unrecognisable letters and characters.

Information provided by an HLR lookup

An HLR lookup queries your mobile network operator and returns information about a given mobile number. You receive the following information:

  • The country where the SIM is registered
  • Whether the SIM is active or has been deactivated
  • If the phone is on or off
  • If the phone is connected to a network

Where the mobile number is not reachable, an explanation is provided. You can then determine if this is a temporary issue, and whether the number should be retained in your database.

You can run an HLR lookup on an ad hoc basis to clean up your data or integrate it into your customer sign-up experience.

HLR lookups and spam

It’s important for businesses to understand their obligations under the spam legislation in their region. For example, when a customer opts in to receiving your content via a mobile phone, the individual – not the mobile number – has agreed to receive messages. If the mobile number is no longer associated with that individual, continued messaging may breach spam legislation.

HLR Lookups can also help to determine if a number resides within a carrier’s inactive pool, waiting to be provisioned to the next user. Carriers typically place unused numbers into inactive pools for at least 90 days before allocation to a new customer. Therefore, businesses must regularly check their databases and remove inactive records to avoid sending uncompliant messages to the new number’s owner.

Benefits of HLR lookups

Validating your database not only vastly improves the efficiency of your business messaging spend but also provides other benefits, such as:

  • Enhances marketing functions by targeting an up-to-date database of customers
  • Distinguishes between invalid numbers and those numbers with a temporary problem
  • Improves your business’s overall message deliverability
  • Offers real-time carrier information to assist with troubleshooting
  • Validates mobile numbers from online forms to avoid incorrect data entry
  • Identifies fraudulent numbers
  • Keeps your database clean
  • Helps your business remain spam-compliant

Ready to go?

Contact us to enable HLR lookups to clean up your database and drive better business messaging outcomes today.

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