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Android phones seem to support 2 kinds of SMS: Text SMS and Data SMS. I think I know what a text SMS is, but what is a Data SMS and how / for what is it used (btw as far as I can tell Data SMS are not MMS)?

I recognize that this might not be Android specific, but I encountered the term first on my Android handset, so here I go. If this is more general and better moved to a different forum feel free to suggest so...

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I don't seem to find this on my android device. Can you tell the version of your android/model of the phone? Or include the screenshot if you can? – Power-Inside Dec 24 '12 at 8:23
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Data SMS messages are sent through the data network, over your 2G / 3G data connection, just like all other data such as internet traffic. Normally SMS messages have their own method of transport, the details of which you can check out on Wikipedia.

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Thanks. Your answer gets me half way there, but I still don't understand what it is used for. If you can add an example of a real-world service/application that sends data SMS or a common use-case I'll tick your answer. – user4188 May 11 '11 at 1:02
@user4188 Data SMSes cost much less... – Evil Angel Sep 29 '12 at 19:49
Its more reliable, too.. – Evil Angel Sep 29 '12 at 19:52

A perfect example for data SMS use is when your recipient must pay to receive your text message even though you may have unlimited texting. By using a data SMS service, all extra charges are avoided and the amount of data used by SMS messages is insignificant compared to even lite web page viewing.

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I think Data SMS messages are sent not only through the data network (over your 2G / 3G data connection), but also through GSM as Text SMS. The PDU of a text message has a User Data Headers (UDH) that defines a specific port on a handset. Refer to this link:

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