Premium Rated SMS (Shortcodes)

Premium rate shortcodes enable you to operate a service where your customers pay to send an SMS to a shortcode. The cellular networks acquire the payments and a portion thereof is paid out to you via BulkSMS.

Premium SMS

Shortcodes are useful when you have information to sell. Once the incoming payment SMS is received, a reply SMS containing the information, or a weblink to the information, or an entry code to a website containing the information can be sent back to your customer.

Apply for a Premium Rated Shortcode here

Premium Rated Shortcode services are supplied by BulkSMS either on a dedicated shortcode basis, or on a keyword basis where a single shortcode is shared by multiple users each with their own keyword.

Dedicated shortcodes would typically be used by customers wanting to run multiple services of their own, each with a different keyword. There is no limit to the number of keywords that can be used on a dedicated number. There is a network imposed minimum volume requirement from Vodacom of 3000 incoming SMS's per month.

Premium Rate SMS can also be used for:

  • Voting lines.
  • Competition entry mechanism.
  • Information gathering.

An example of a premium rate shortcode service is that of one provided by Wavescape where you send an SMS with the keyword “WS” to the shortcode 34010 (SMS charged at R2/SMS) for the surf forecast for Cape Town and an automatic response is then received via SMS containing the surf forecast for the next 4 days for the area you selected (in this example – WS).

Open your BulkSMS account and start using our Premium Rate Services now.

Should you like more info or have any other sales related query, please contact our sales desk at or 0860 SMSING (0860 767 464).

Shortcode Costs

The Premium Rate Service is sold in two ways:




Setup Fee 0 R2,300 (inc VAT)
Fee R862.50 per annum (inc VAT) R862.50 per month (inc VAT)
Setup Time 2 days 2 weeks
Minimum Volume 0 3000 on Vodacom network
  Dedicated keyword Dedicated number
Both shared and dedicated shortcodes can have an Incoming capacity of up to 10 SMS' per second. They both can also be used as a standard rate shortcode which does NOT generate revenue.

Shortcode Payouts

The table below dislays the payouts that BulkSMS offers (NET Customer payouts):

(Incl Vat)



Cell C


R1.00 R0.07 R0.06 R0.03 R0.32
R1.50 R0.44 R0.41 R0.14 R0.63
R2.00 R0.81 R0.67 R0.26 R0.94
R3.00 R1.55 R1.29 R0.48 R1.54
R5.00 R3.03 R2.51 R0.93 R2.78
R7.50 R4.88 R3.92 R1.72 R4.30
R10.00 R6.73 R5.67 R2.07 R5.83
R15.00 R10.43 R8.77 R3.21 R8.87
R20.00 R14.13 R11.91 R4.35 R12.00
R25.00 R17.83 R15.07 R5.49 R15.00
R30.00 R21.53 R18.24 R6.63 R18.00
Example: This table shows that if a customer sends an SMS to a keyword that costs them R5.00, it means that if the customer is on the Vodacom Network, you will receive R3.03 for each SMS they send to you. If the customer is on the MTN Network, you will receive R2.51 and if they are on the Cell C Network, you will receive R0.93. Notes: All payouts above are VAT inclusive. VAT will be subtracted from payouts to non-VAT vendors.

Claiming Payouts

Payouts are paid by the networks to BulkSMS approximately 8 weeks after the end of the month. BulkSMS will pay out within a few days thereafter. Clients can use the Premium SMS Reporting facility to determine how much they need to invoice BulkSMS for on a monthly basis. Monthly amounts less than R100 are not paid out.

Getting Started

To get started, fill in and submit an online application. Please note that you will need to register for a BulkSMS account if you have not already done so.


User support is available at no extra cost. BulkSMS offers telephonic and email support during week days, Saturdays and Public Holidays. For more information, including available times, please contact us.

If you have any questions regarding any of the BulkSMS products or require further information, please email our sales team or call BulkSMS on 0860 SMSING (0860 767 464).