AWS News Blog

Amazon Simple Notification Service Now Supports SMS

Today we are adding another transport protocol to the Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS). You can now subscribe a US phone number to an SNS topic. After the subscription has been confirmed, notifications sent to the topic will be delivered to the phone as an SMS message. SMS (also known as Short Message Service) is one of the most widely used messaging protocols in the world, making it an attractive notification option due to its ubiquity and simplicity. With support for SMS text messaging, Amazon SNS messages can be delivered to SMS-enabled cell phones and smart phones.

You can now choose between six distinct delivery protocols: Email, Email in JSON format, HTTP, HTTPS, Amazon SQS, and SMS. Each topic can have subscriptions that make use of any combination of protocols:

There are two principal ways to make use of this feature:

  1. Create an SNS topic and then set up a CloudWatch alarm to watch a system or application metric. Connect the alarm to the topic, and then create an SMS subscription, routing notifications to your mobile device, and receive messages when your alarms are triggered.
  2. Create a user-facing application that has the ability to push information to registered users through their mobile devices. Collect phone numbers as part of the registration process and have the user confirm the subscription.

You can subscribe a phone number to an SMS topic through the AWS Management Console:

Here are a few important facts about our new SMS support:

  • Every AWS account can send up to 100 SMS messages each month at no charge. There is a $0.75 charge for each 100 messages thereafter.
  • Message recipients must reply via SMS in order to confirm a new subscription to a topic.
  • Messages can be sent to 10 digit US phone numbers. We plan to support phones in Canada and other countries in the future.
  • This feature is initially available in the US East (Northern Virginia) Region. Again, we’ll roll out support for other Regions over time.
  • Each message is prefixed by the first 10 characters of the Display Name of the SNS topic and the “>” character. if your topic’s Display Name is “Alerts” the prefix will be “Alerts>”.
  • Messages are limited to a total of 140 ASCII or 70 Unicode characters. Be sure to take the message prefix in to account when defining your application’s messages.
  • Message recipients can text “STOP” or “QUIT” to 30304 to unsubscribe from all topics and to stop SMS deliveries. Subscriptions can also be managed from the AWS Management Console and the SNS API. Recipients can also text “HELP” to receive contact information and other assistance.

As we always do, we’ll add more features, options, and Regions over time. Give this a whirl, and let us know where you’d like us to take it.

— Jeff;