From 30 January 2023, messages sent to Singapore using unregistered alpha tag - including Alpha Tags, Dedicated Numbers and International Numbers - may be overwritten with Alpha Tag "Likely-SCAM" or may be blocked.
What's behind this change?
From 30 January 2023, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has advised us that it will implement the Full SMS Alpha Tag Registry Regime (SSIR). This is designed to better protect message recipients from scammers who falsely present themselves as recognized businesses.
How to register your Alpha Tag(s).
To send messages using Alpha tags to Singapore numbers, you’ll need to register your Alpha tag(s) including any Singapore Dedicated Numbers. This will help strengthen safeguards against scammers.
When it comes to registering your Alpha Tag(s), there are a few steps involved, so we’ve set out a summary below. We recommend you check out the IMDA website for more detailed information about the process.
- First, you need to have a Singapore unique entity number (UEN) in order to register an Alpha Tag. Foreign-based businesses can obtain a Singapore UEN by registering with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
- Once you have your Singapore UEN sorted, go to the SSIR portal to register your Alpha Tag(s). You may need to create an account if you don’t already have one. Please note that there is a SGD500 setup fee with SSIR and a SGD200 fee per Alpha Tag registration. If you are registering a Dedicated Number, we will need to provide you a Statement of Number Authorisation, confirming that ClickSend have provisioned the Dedicated Number to your business.
- Once you’ve successfully registered your Alpha tag(s), you’ll need to provide us with a Letter of Authorisation. Please use our template and return it to ClickSend Support with your Company Header added and company details added, and signed.
If you have any questions regarding this operational direction or questions on the process we are here to assist you, please contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Online Chat from any ClickSend website, 24/7.
Or if you have questions about the registration requirements, please contact email@example.com or visit the Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) website.
We recommend you check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the SGNIC’s website for information about the regime, cost, and registration requirements. Some additional information is summarised below.
1. Is registration mandatory?
The Alpha Tag Registry Regime applies to all organisations sending messages with Alpha tags to Singapore numbers from 30 January 2023. We cannot guarantee delivery of messages that do not comply with the registration requirements (including the Letter of Authorisation).
2. Can MessageMedia register a SenderID for me?
No we are unable to complete this for our customers. The regulations specify that the customers themselves need to apply for their own registered Alpha Tag(s). Once you’ve successfully registered your Alpha Tag(s), you’ll need to provide us with a Letter of Authorisation. You can use this template for the LOA.
3. What is a Letter of Authorisation?
An organisation may authorise a representative like ClickSend to send SMS with the organisation’s registered Alpha Tag on its behalf. For example, a marketing firm is appointed by an organisation to run a marketing campaign for the organisation. To authorise the representative to send such SMS with the registered Alpha Tag on the organisation’s behalf, a Letter of Authorisation (LOA) provided by the organisation who registered that Alpha Tag is required.
You can download the LOA template for representative here
4. Does this affect international roaming?
The Alpha Tag Registry Regime applies to all organisations sending messages with Alpha Tags to Singapore numbers from 30 January 2023. After that date, messages containing unregistered Alpha Tag(s) to Singapore numbers may be blocked.
5. Which participating aggregator do I need to specify when I register my Alpha Tag(s)?
You will need to select Sinch Singapore Pte Ltd as the participating aggregator.
6. What if I want to add more SenderIDs later?
If you decide to register additional SenderIDs, you will need to send us a revised Letter of Authorisation. You can download the LOA template here.
7. What do I do if I no longer want to send to Singapore?
If you no longer wish to send to Singapore, we recommend that you:
1. remove Singapore numbers from your contact list or
2. contact our Support team and instruct us to block sending to Singapore.
8. I currently use ClickSend's shared number. Will that still work?
No, ClickSend's shared number for Singapore will no longer work. The new regulations specifically state that Shared Numbers are not allowed. Each individual customer must register their own SenderID.
9. What happens if I don’t do anything?
If you haven’t contacted us to block Singapore, and you attempt to send messages with unregistered SenderIDs to Singapore, your messages may be blocked and charges may apply under your Customer C. Please refer to our policy for more information.
All alpha tags must be registered directly with Singapore SMS Alpha Tag Registry (“SSIR”). After 30th January 2023, unregistered alpha tags will be replaced with “Likely-SCAM”.
Client who has registered their alpha tags with SGNIC directly or via SGNIC portal, kindly inform Sinch so that we can whitelist your client’s account for the registered alpha tags. Note: even though client’s account is whitelisted by Sinch for the registered alpha tags, the registered alpha tags may delivered with “Likely-SCAM” until the “effective by” date stated in SGNIC portal.
From 1st August 2023 onwards, all unregistered alpha tags will be rejected, instead of being replaced with “Likely-SCAM”.
Notes on the registration process:
- All Organizations must register with SSIR directly. The purpose of requiring Organizations to register their Alpha Tags directly is to ensure that only bona fide Organizations can use Alpha Tags to send SMS to Singapore mobile users.
- Organizations must have valid identification (i.e., the UEN) to register alpha tags. Foreign-based businesses must first obtain a UEN by registering with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”).
- The SSIR will assign Alpha Tags on a first-come-first-served basis, and may clarify with registrants if they have a trademark or other legitimate claim to the Alpha Tag.
- The SSIR registration fees are: a. One-time set up fee of $500; and b. Annual $200 per Alpha Tag. The fees are in SGD and shall liaise with SSIR for the payment.
- Organizations can start to register with the SSIR from 31 October 2022 onwards.
- A copy of the press release from IMDA on this matter can be found here (https://www.imda.gov.sg/-/media/Imda/Files/Regulations-and-Licensing/Regulations/Consultations/2022/Proposals-to-Strengthen-Safeguards-for-SMS-Messages-to-Singapore-Users/PR-Full-SMS-Sender-ID-Registration-to-be-required-by-January-2023.pdf)
- To contact SSIR for alpha tag registration/reservation, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or via their web portal https://smsregistry.sg/web/login.
- For more information, please visit to https://sgnic.sg/smsregistry/overview
Alpha Tag Rules of Registration: Alpha Tags should:
a. have a minimum of 3 characters and a maximum of 11 characters;
b. not contain non-Latin characters;
c. be in any combination of upper/lower casing;
d. not be generic in nature (for e.g. “OTP”, “SMS”, etc);
e. not be sensitive in nature;
f. not contain leading or trailing spaces; and
g. only include the allowed special characters found in the Annex(https://www.sgnic.sg/smsregistry/rules-of-registration)
- Sinch offers both Long Numbers and Short Codes.
- Subscribers are charged a standard rate to text to the Short Codes.
- Both transactional and promotional content is allowed.
Dedicated Short Code and Dedicated Virtual Long Number are also required to register by 30th Jan 2023. Non-registered Short Code and Virtual Long number will also be replaced with “Likely-SCAM” after 30th Jan 2023. Kindly refer to below Alpha Tag Rules of Registration.
- Short codes can be registered as Alpha Tags with the SSIR, provided the below conditions are met:
a. Only 5-digit short codes starting with 7 can be registered;
b. The short code will need to be unique to the user organisation; and
c. The user organisation will need to submit supporting document(s) to the SSIR, showing that the short code was issued by a Mobile Network Operator in Singapore to the SMS aggregator that the user organisation is working with.
- Long virtual numbers (“LVNs”) can be registered as Alpha Tags with the SSIR, provided the below conditions are met:
a. Only Application-to-Person (A2P) alpha tags to send/receive SMS to/from Singapore mobile users can be registered. Person-to-Person (P2P) SMS sent via SIM card (which is tied to a unique mobile number) cannot be registered;
b. Only 8-digit LVNs from the 8 and 9 series can be registered;
c. The LVN will need to be unique to the user organisation;
d. The user organization will need to submit supporting document(s) to the SSIR, showing that the LVN was issued by a Mobile Network Operator in Singapore to the SMS aggregator that the user organization is working with.
Regulations and Best Practices
Forbidden content types
- Money lending
- Required to include <ADV> at the start of message
- Required to include “Reply U to Opt-Out” in message
There is a Do-Not-Disturb Registry in effect in Singapore since 2014 as part of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). The sending party is responsible to ensure that they have "clear and unambiguous consent, in written or other accessible form" for any traffic to numbers in the DND Registry. Any organization found in breach of the Act may be subject to a fine per contravention of up to SGD 1 Million. For more info: www.dnc.gov.sg.
To help bolster digital banking security, with the growing threat regarding online phishing scams, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has released measures to be put in place to protect consumers. Notably for SMS, to help curb this, MAS have advised banks they will need to remove clickable links within the SMSes sent to retail customers. It is important to note that this is only for customers who are in the banking industry.