An SMS gateway basically allows one to send/receive Short Message Service (SMS) transmissions to/from a telecommunications network. Many SMS gateways support media conversion from email and other formats.  SMS messages could be highly valuable for GPS tracking and telematics: SMS commands allow one to configure GPS trackers automatically, increase geolocation reliability, and help solve a wide range of issues remotely. We further describe SMS gateway benefits for telematics.

SMS service and gateway

Generally, SMS (Short Message Service) could be divided into two steps:

  • Message submission.
  • Message delivery, which also includes a delivery report.

The SMS functionality could be spread into a few use cases, including the following:

  • Person-to-Person (P2P) communication
  • Application-to-Person (A2P) communication: very popular for generating significant wholesale interconnection revenues and also valid for MioT (Mobile Internet of Things)
  • Technical enabler: OTA (Over the Air) messaging for (U)SIM (UMTS Subscriber Identify Module) provisioning, IP (Internet Protocol) session wake-up.

An SMS text messaging application connects to SMSCs through an SMS gateway. To connect to an SMS gateway, one could use an SMSC protocol such as SMPP and CIMD. SMS gateways also support an HTTP / HTTPS interface. HTTP / HTTPS is easier to use than SMSC protocols. The drawback is that there may be fewer SMS features to use. For example, an SMS gateway may not support the sending of picture messages through the HTTP / HTTPS interface.

SMS gateway-related architectures

The figure below represents the architecture of the telematics gateway and framework, suggested by W.Y Han et al. It enables developers to write telematics server applications independent of the gateway of the mobile network. In addition it provides developers with the opportunity to write applications without knowing about the interfaces of the systems of the mobile network that are related to authentication and billing systems, and without knowing about the details to integrate related servers.

The above-mentioned gateway consists of the wireless optimized TCP, SMS gateway, wireless-optimized HTTP, and push module. The push module on its turn enables a TCP-based telematics server application to push a message to the telematics client application.

When the telematics server application wants to send a message to the specified client application, it requests the push module to send a message to invoke a client application. An SMS-based application in a telematics terminal receives the message and invokes the specified application. The client application connects the server application and receives the message from the server.

Various architectures are under development at the moment to enable SMS transport in the future, taken into account 4G (using Diameter), IMS (using SIP), and 5G evolution. The 4G SMS could be transported by Diameter while IMS/5G SMS could select MAP or Diameter in order to interconnect with SMSC and HLR/HSS.

SMS gateway in GPS monitoring

In Navixy short SMS messages are used not only for M2M communications but also for notifying customers about important events such as geofence exit, deviation from the route, fuel draining, etc.

In some cases, when receiving/sending M2M and SMS messages to clients, it is advisable to use different SMS gateways. For example, a budget SMS gateway is suitable for sending alerts to customers but does not permit special characters in M2M commands. Also sometimes partners use a nice looking sender ID for customer notifications, which can not be applied for sending commands to devices.

Navixy provides opportunities to use different SMS gateways — one for user notifications and another for communicating with the equipment.

In case one offers services to several countries or have to use various gateways for sending SMS in different directions, then SMS routing will be an option. Navixy makes it possible to identify priority SMS gateways for various ranges of numbers. You can also apply a special Fallback policy. For example, if the main (most profitable) gateway is unavailable, SMS will be sent through the next one.

SMS messages can bring a solid benefit for GPS tracking and telematics: SMS commands allow one to configure GPS trackers automatically, increase geolocation reliability, and help solve a lot of problems remotely. One should pick the right SMS service and assess its specifics to organize an SMS channel between a monitoring platform and GPS trackers. Also, one should ensure that the GPS tracking system supports this SMS service.


  • SMS over LTE: services, architecture, and protocols. D-M. Ciuraru et al., 2013.
  • GSM Association, Official Document NG.111 – SMS Evolution, 2019.
  • W.Y Han et al., A Gateway and Framework for Telematics
    Systems Independent on Mobile Networks, 2005.