Twitter has partnered with two of the world’s largest satellite communications providers, Iridium and Thuraya, allowing subscribers of both services access to Twitter SMS.
Twitter has stated in a blog post that part of the company’s values would see the service “available to every person on the planet”. Now, even if phone lines and the internet are inaccessible, people will still be able to “share news and stay informed” as satellites are a lot less susceptible to damage during periods of war, natural disaster or government oppression.
Twitter originally began as an SMS-only service back in 2006, before expanding its platform to the web and a plethora of mobile applications. SMS continues to play an important role in the continued flow of tweets, especially in places with little or no data connectivity.
The company has a long list of SMS ‘short codes’ supported in specific countries by specific mobile carriers – but not all. To try and get around this, Twitter has also introduced something known as ‘long codes’ that are non-carrier specific.
Long codes are currently available in the UK, Germany and Finland and are one-way only, meaning they can only be used to send tweets. Long codes may be charged at international SMS rates.