What is a lookup and what triggers one?

What is a lookup and what triggers one?

When you send a text message TextPower tries to make it as simple as possible.  You send it to us and we do the rest.

In reality, though, it’s not simple at all as there are many steps along the way.  One of the key pieces of information required is knowing which carrier (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, etc.) provides the service for that number.  We need that so we can properly route the message to that carrier.  Without it there’s no way for the message to reach its destination.

What is a lookup?

There are essentially two ways for TextPower to obtain the carrier to which that number is assigned.  If the user opts-in by sending a text message to us with a keyword, we get the carrier info.  It is sent to us in the contents of the message.  We store that information in our own database (a “cache”).  When you tell us to send a message to that number we don’t have to lookup the carrier info.

If, on the other hand, you upload a list of numbers those numbers will not have the carrier information associated with them.  They will have to be looked up.  This is standard when customers use our Communications Assurance Program (CAP). That’s the fastest way of getting tens of thousands of numbers in the database so you can send text messages to them.

Virtually all of the cellular phone companies in the country participate in what is known as the National Cellular Database.  Even most rural cellular carriers and Google Voice numbers are available through this database.  This centralized and master compilation contains not only the number for every cell phone, it also has the information about which carrier services it.  The lookup process accesses this database and retrieves the carrier information.  At that point the information is stored in the cache and used in the same way that it is used when the information is obtained by the mobile user sending a text to our system.

We don’t always have to look them up

There are a few occasions when, even though a mobile number is already in our cache – and there are literally millions in our cache – the carrier to which it is assigned is either incorrect or must be changed. The most common reason is that someone changes their service from, say, Verizon Wireless to AT&T, and so that routing information must be changed.

TextPower has a unique, proprietary process that assures delivery of messages; when we receive an error code telling us that the carrier for a particular number is incorrect we perform a lookup and then, when we have obtained the correct carrier information for that number, resend it.  This assures delivery of messages in a way that no other company can.

These lookups cost money and so we are compelled to charge for them when they must be performed.  TextPower’s customers benefit from our own massive cache of numbers.  We always check that first (and we have millions) to see if a number is in it.  If it is, we don’t have to look it up.  As a result the instances where a lookup is required are vastly reduced, especially when compared to other companies.  For the very small cost of $0.02/lookup you are assured that your message has the best chance of getting delivered.

And isn’t that what you want when you send a message in the first place?