The use of Text-back SIM Cards for text message notifications for Taxi & Private Hire Firms is now standard practice. A mission-critical service used to increase bookings. Along with keeping passengers informed of the status of their booking. And to help reduce no-shows. As a result, streamlining operations to help increase profits.
SMS Text-Back SIMs are now being discontinued by UK Mobile Networks, what are the alternatives for Taxi Operators?
The taxi industry has known for a long time that using standard network SIM cards for SMS Text-Back would end. We know the mobile networks state that fair usage means, ‘a fair number of SMS sent. Plus a limitation of the number of mobile numbers each SIM can send SMS.’ But until now, mobile networks may have chosen not to take action. In 2021, UK mobile networks are placing a greater focus on breaches of T&C’s. We predict by the end of 2021, SMS Text-Back will no longer exist due to mobile networks taking action on breaches of the fair usage policy.
What the future holds
As we are all now aware, passengers expectations have increased. They expect to get text message notifications as part of your service.
If you stop sending notifications, this will result in the loss of jobs. It is a simple case, passengers will book elsewhere. Drivers jobs will reduce, which will result in drivers leaving.
As a result of the Networks closing down Text-Back SIMs, taxi operators now need to factor in SMS costs. This is a new revenue opportunity for Taxi operators, as they can introduce a fee to cover service costs.
The worry is, if taxi operators increase their fares, then they will lose business to a rival. But due to all Networks implementing their fair usage software, everyone will be in the same boat!
Alternatives to Text-Backs SIM Cards
You can carry on using your standard network SIM cards for SMS Text-Back. But you will incur charges and fines from the Mobile Operators. Or you could use PAYG SIM cards, that may last a short while before having to replace every time they go down. This would become unmanageable and costly.
Other alternative solutions include;
Ring Back: This could work for some passengers, but most would not recognize the number. Or correlate it’s your office number, so could end up losing the job.
WhatsApp Business: This is not a one-stop solution, as not everyone uses WhatsApp. You would need to register for a business account, which gives you 1,000 free messages per month. This comes with a commitment contract with WhatsApp. SMS plans start from £0.045 per message. And rates depend on the length of commitment and monthly volumes.
Third-Party WhatsApp: Using a standard network SIM card, using the data network. The message comes through to the passenger’s phone, using a random number and has a fair usage policy. The WhatsApp platform is very advanced, so this solution will likely be flagged. So this may only be a short-term solution.
Booking Apps: If you can encourage your passengers to use your booking app. Then notification arrives through it when booking.
Bulk SMS: This is the only guaranteed text message notification solution. It will work without any issues, with instant message delivery.
We would recommend a blend of Bulk SMS, App Bookings and a WhatsApp business account.
Benefits of using M2M Bulk SMS for Notifications
- Guaranteed delivery within seconds through the BT network
- Uses Company Sender ID
- Keep passengers informed
- Reduce lose of jobs
- Keep your drivers happy with plenty of jobs
- Don’t lose revenue
- WhatsApp business account
- Facebook messaging
- REST API using SMPP for integration with any Taxi Dispatch Software
- Delivery reports
- PAYG Model
- Global coverage
So how can you cover the costs?
It’s important to remember this is not something you are doing out of choice, but because there is a need to. We would recommend 2 SMS per job at a standard rate of £0.03 per SMS would mean an extra £0.06p per fare.
By increasing the base rate by as low as £0.10 per job, would cover the costs. Here are some figures from a company that does 50,000 jobs per month, with 2 SMS per job, with a £0.25 booking fee;
- Cost of SMS; £0.03
- Increase fare/booking fee of £0.25
- Jobs per Month; 50,000
- Cost of SMS per month; £3,000
- Revenue generated; £12,500
- Monthly Profit; £8,500
You can scale this up or down to suit, but this would cover the costs even generate a new revenue stream! Some companies share some of the booking fee revenue with drives. Which could be an effective way of helping you with the setup for the long term.
This mission-critical issue is happening right now! It will affect all taxi operators across the country. As a result, you need to think about how you can generate the revenue, decide which solution to use. And how to manage the transition to ensure you don’t lose jobs, drivers and revenue.
If you would like to discuss this in more detail call +44 161 660 2492 option Bulk SMS or email [email protected].