May 28, 2021

Text Segments

What Is a Text Segment?

When you send a text message, the letters in your text message get turned into bits of data (1s and 0s).

Cell phone carriers send that data across their networking, which uses up their bandwidth.  If the network was a highway, your text message would be a car on that highway.  To “budget” bandwidth, they determined years ago that a standard text message would use up 140 bytes of data.  That breaks down to about 160 characters which is why 160 characters makes up a text segment or in sticking to our analogy, 1 car on the highway.  Because emojis and special characters use more data than standard letters, it drops your character length to 70 instead of 160.

Does this mean I can only send 160 characters?

Not at all, you can write a War and Peace novel if you want (although we wouldn’t recommend it).  Keep in mind that we are paying the cell phone carriers for each spot that they reserve for your message on their highway.  If you take up more than one spot, then you will be charged to for multiple segments.  So, for example, if your text is 220 characters, then you are charged for 2 segments for that one message.  This usually isn’t a big deal for casual conversations but if you are sending out a lot of messages, it can get costly.