Blog



10 February 2019

HLR lookups for messaging: Only pay for what you send

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

HLR lookups query your mobile network operator which in turn, returns information about the numbers in your database. You receive the following information:

  • The country where the SIM is registered
  • The name of the carrier
  • The type of number (landline or mobile)
  • 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 service 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?

Getting started is easy.

  • Integrate: Using our REST API, follow the integration steps in our Lookups API Documentation.
  • Identify: Watch as our API identifies valid and invalid numbers, their carriers, current location and phone type.
  • Send: Hit send on your bulk SMS campaign with the assurance that you are reducing costs and maximising revenue by cutting the number of failed or undeliverable messages.

Enable HLR lookups to clean up your database to drive better business messaging outcomes today.

You may also like ...


Integrate SMS and short URLs into your marketing automation

  • 21 March 2019

Integrate SMS into your marketing automation for an easy omnichannel solution that delivers results.

Read more

MMS: Everything you need to know about multimedia messaging service

  • 13 March 2019

Use visually striking images, GIFs and videos with MMS to stand out from the competition.

Read more

Are your providers keeping your customer data secure?

  • 7 March 2019

It’s a good time to reflect on whether you – and your providers – are protecting customer details.

Read more

Ready to go?


The easiest way to send engaging
messages to your customers

Start messaging for free today