A “segment” refers to a part of a text message containing a maximum number of characters. Depending on the contents of the text message, or if the message is sent out in multiple parts, the maximum number of characters is different per segment.
If your message is over the maximum number of characters, it is broken down into multiple parts before being dispatched to the recipient's phone. Today, the majority of cell phone carriers join the multiple message parts to create a single message for the recipient to read. However, some phone carriers may send the messages separately, one after the other.
What's the Difference Between 70 (UCS-2) and 160 (GSM-7) Character Segments?
A message containing text-only characters (regular letters and numbers) will be encoded using GSM-7 and will have a maximum of 160 characters. It does not contain special characters like emojis or letters with accents. If your text-only message goes over 160 characters, it will be broken down into multiple segments:
- 1 segment = 0-160 characters
- 2 segments = 161-306 characters
- 3 segments = 307-459 characters
- 4 segments = 460-612 characters
- And so on...
A message containing emojis or special characters (even just one!), known as unicode characters, (for example, ÀÂÃÄÇÈÉÊËÎÏÔÕÖÙÚÛÜ÷©), will be encoded using UCS-2 and will have a maximum of 70 characters per segment. If this type of message goes over 70 characters, it will be broken down into multiple segments:
- 1 segment = 0-70 characters
- 2 segments = 71-141 characters
- 3 segments = 142-212 characters
- 4 segments = 212-282 characters
- And so on...
Examples of Text Message Segments
This message includes text only so it can have up to 160 characters per segment. This message has a 148 character count.
This message includes an emoji, so segments have a maximum of 70 characters. This message has a 209 character count.
This message includes an emoji, so segments have a maximum of 70 characters. This message has a 301 character count.
Want an easy way to calculate your message’s segments? Copy and paste the text in our Segment Calculator.