2020 Twilio Alternative Comparison: Plivo vs Twilio SMS Pricing

While new digital communication channels continue to emerge, SMS remains one of the most widely used forms of communications around the world, with 90% of U.S. online adults using smartphones, according to Gartner. Additionally, SMS is one of the most efficient thanks to instant delivery and open rates of up to 98%. The growth in demand for enterprise application-to-person (A2P) messaging is driven by several factors, including smartphone availability, access to high-speed networks, a mobile-first mentality, and demand for real-time and personalized communications.

In the U.S. alone, billions of SMS messages are sent daily from businesses to their customers to communicate everything from delivery statuses to order or ride notifications to security alerts to two-factor authentication notices and more.

SMS and MMS messages allow you to communicate with your current and potential customers faster and more directly than ever before. Make sure that the provider you choose doesn’t just support your goals and strategy, but also helps you quickly realize ROI.

When it comes down to it, two critical factors will determine the business impact of your SMS programs: delivery reliability and cost.

In this pricing comparison, we’ll show you how Plivo stacks up as the best Twilio alternative across three pricing categories:

  • Phone number rates
  • SMS rates
  • MMS rates

Compare Phone Number Pricing to Find the Best Twilio Alternative

Phone number rates are the starting point of your pricing plan and set the course for subsequent layers of per-message rates. While the cost of leasing one or more numbers from your provider doesn’t have the largest impact on your budget, the price will have a subtle influence on your overall return on investment (ROI).

Phone Number Pricing

As the leading Twilio alternative, Plivo’s phone number pricing is more competitive across the board, saving customers as much as 50% when it comes to toll-free prefix numbers and regular shortcode numbers.

Phone Number Pricing Example

Competitive SMS Rates Support Vital Mobile Communications

SMS is the backbone of your mobile customer communication program whether you’re leveraging the technology for security, logistics, or transactions. Your Twilio alternative should create a cost-effective framework for your SMS use case through competitive SMS rates at any volume.

SMS Pricing Comparison

Below, we’ll break down what goes into Plivo and Twilio’s standard and carrier-set fees and outline the difference those price points make for a real-world campaign example.

Standard Text Message Pricing

While it’s important to find an SMS API provider with an economical price point, cost isn’t everything. For example, Plivo uses a quality-based routing (QBR) system to ensure you get the best deliverability possible for each dollar spent.

Message for message, Plivo’s pricing saves customers 33% on local outbound numbers, as well as 23% for toll-free numbers and 40% on outbound shortcode messages. Even better: Local inbound messages are free with Plivo (vs $.0075 for Twilio).

SMS Pricing Comparison Example

For example, if you were to plan for a campaign of 1 million outbound short code messages as outlined in the above graphic, that 40% rate difference would translate to $3,000 saved in standard text message fees.

Carrier Passthrough Fees

Carrier passthrough fees for outbound messages will vary depending on the carrier network that is used to deliver the message. Your SMS API partner will tack on this fee to their standard per message rate. Think of this like a sales tax - every provider charges the fee based on the carrier.

For example, Verizon charges $.0025 per SMS message for local and shortcode numbers, and US cellular charges $.0035 for outbound messages from short code numbers and $.005 for outbound messages from local numbers.

When planning your budget for SMS campaigns, a good rule of thumb is to multiply your monthly message volume by each network carrier’s market share ratio to estimate the fee you’ll be charged.

For a campaign of 1 million outbound shortcode messages, for instance, Verizon would pass along $730 in carrier pass-through fees and US Cellular would pass on $42, based on Q3 2019 market shares.

When we take a look at how standard SMS fees combined with carrier pass-through fees add up across a month-long campaign of 1 million messages, it’s easy to see which provider is more affordable.

By using Plivo for the above 1 million shortcode messages to U.S. customers, you would save close to 35% relative to the cost of the same program with Twilio.

The difference is clear: Plivo has better SMS plan pricing across the board.

Twilio Alternative MMS Capabilities Create High-impact Messaging Campaigns

SMS campaigns allow companies to reach customers directly, bringing them the critical information they need to know faster than ever before. While SMS is a utilitarian boon for customer experience, with MMS, businesses can have a more engaging impact using rich-media formats like GIFs, video, audio, and images.

Because more data is required to deliver the extra media, MMS pricing differs considerably from standard SMS costs. But there is still variability in pricing and companies compare pricing.

MMS Pricing Comparison

As we’ll break down in the sections below, Plivo offers more economical price points for both inbound and outbound local MMS pricing and offers inbound and outbound toll-free SMS services, which Twilio does not support.

General MMS Pricing

Like SMS pricing, your MMS pricing rate is set by your SMS API on a per unit basis.

While per-message rates go down as volume goes up, subtle differences in Twilio’s per-MMS-message pricing can lead to a significant difference in total cost between it and competitors. On average, Plivo customers save 20% on outbound and inbound MMS message costs.

When scaled up to that same campaign of 1 million messages we used for SMS pricing, these price points make a big difference.

As is the case with SMS messages, API providers pass carrier-set fees for all MMS messages. These are equal between Plivo and Twilio. Plivo offers better overall MMS pricing thanks to our direct carrier relationships.

MMS Pricing Comparison Example

Picking a Twilio Alternative: Which is the Best Fit?

Thousands of innovative global companies know Plivo is the best Twilio alternative because of our combination of quality, reach, and affordability.

If you’re ready to get better mileage out of your SMS budget for U.S. and Canada campaigns, download our quick guide to Twilio SMS pricing vs. Plivo pricing. And, if you’re ready to upgrade your global SMS strategy, download our full pricing guide for all 190+ countries in our network.

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