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SMS Service

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SMS Introduction

The SMS service allows users around the university to send texts to small or large numbers of people.

Examples of use cases are:

  • Course or class notifications/changes
  • Alerts from alarm monitoring systems
  • Disaster/emergency planning
  • General message to staff off campus
  • Trials
  • Any situation where a short notification helps


There are two types of accounts, administrator and user. 

All administrators and users should have their own sign in credentials and should not share these with other people.

Administrator Accounts

These are used to set up users, delete users, and reset passwords for users.  They are also able to set up global contacts and global templates that can be used by any user in the department.

       Administrator accounts cannot send messages, it is only used for the administration of the service.  As an administrator, please follow these guidelines:

  • Administrative accounts need to contain information that leads back to a person, we require this for billing purposes.
  • Update/delete user accounts as necessary in the USER section - if someone has left the university, please remove the account.
  • User fields - When setting up users some fields are compulsory.  The convention is to use the sso username as the username and their university extension phone number
  • If you wish to have a generic account, could you add all the full details of the people using it in the notes/ comments section of the user account.  Please list the user's name, sso, university email address and university phone number.

Please do not remove your cost code from the department name on the account, this is vital for billing purposes.

User Accounts

  • These are used to send out messages. 
  • Users cannot reset any sign in credentials, this needs to be done by the administrator.
  • Users can set up / delete personal contacts and use global contacts
  • A user account is not required to receive messages

SMS Portal

The SMS portal is where administrators can log in to manage user accounts, and users can log in to send messages, create contacts, etc.

Browse to and sign in with your either your administrator (to administer users) or user credentials (to send messages) - administrators and users use the same login link but have separate credentials depending on the account type.

SMS login portal screen

Department administrator portal view

Administrators can edit their own details under the 'DEPARTMENT ADMINS' tab or add and edit users under the 'USERS' tab:

Department admin portal view


department admin edit user

Note that in the above case the administrator also has a user account, so the Username for the administrator account has 'admin' added to distinguish between the two accounts.

User portal view

Users can view their details but cannot edit them. 

The user portal is for sending messages.  Please see the section sending messages via the portal.

user portal view

Messages can also be sent by users using email.  Please see the section sending messages using email

Sending messages using the portal

Log in as a user and click on the 'MESSAGES' tab.

  • Here you can select templates or create a new message.
  • Select to send to individual contacts under the Quick Contacts Selection or select a Group.
  • Send out CSV or XLSX file attachments.
  • You can also set your message to send out at a specific time in advance or instantly.
  • Click 'Send' to send the message.

Send messages from portal

Sending messages using email

You can send messages via email if the option is enabled.

Send messages via email

  • In the To field - put your contacts phone number in the format (mobilenumber)
  • The message is restricted to the subject line only - anything put in other fields will not be sent.
  • Click 'Send' to send the message


There are two types of contacts, global and personal

  • Global contacts are set up by department administrators for all of the users in the department.
  • Personal contacts are set up by each user and only accessible to them.   

Here is an example of user only contacts, under the 'CONTACTS' tab. 

Once set up, contacts can be edited or deleted and may be used when sending messages via the portal

Contacts portal view


For the financial year 2019/20, any new accounts will have a standard minimum charge of £10.

Existing accounts have already been charged for this financial year (2019/2020) based on their expected usage. Any accounts that significantly exceed their annual charge may accrue additional charges at the end of the financial year.

Charges for accounts renewing for the next financial year (2020/2021) will be estimated based on their usage during this year. As a guideline to how estimated costs are calculated, texts are charged at 3.5p per text to each recipient, e.g. 2 texts sent to 10 recipients is 20 texts at 3.5p.

In addition, if you are using the additional Inbound messages functionality, these costs will be factored into the estimation. 


Inbound messages

Inbound texts work with a keyword. The user is asked to text OXFORD and a KEYWORD to a specific number, and any text coming in with that keyword will be sent to a particular email address, accessible online or by mobile number.

Optionally, a text can be sent out automatically in reply. 

It is possible to collect replies to texts. A single department can set up multiple inbound keywords from a single account which is useful if the team is involved with different tasks. 

The charges will be included in the estimated cost calculation but as a guideline: 

  • It costs £5 per month for the facility, plus 1.5p per inbound text and 3.5p per outbound text 
  • A single keyword (i.e.. without OXFORD first) costs £25 per month, plus 1.5p per inbound text and 3.5p per outbound text 

Please be aware that if a person sends a reply text to an inbound message this will be charged at the standard message rate of the sender's mobile network provider.


Requesting an account and password resets

If you wish to request an account, please complete a Service Request for an SMS account

For user password resets, please see your unit's SMS administrator who can do this for you.

For administrator password resets - this can be done logging into the portal as an administrator; please email the chorus team if you need to reset the SMS administrator password


Please see the SMS FAQ

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 11 October 2019