SMS Service



This SMS service is being phased out and users will not be able to request new accounts with this SMS provider, for setting up new accounts please see the Textlocal SMS Service help pages



Examples of use cases are:

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

Information on system access and usage is below, and there are help videos on the SMS portal.


Accounts, access and costs

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These are used to set up users, delete, and modify 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 under the USER tab - if someone has left the university, please remove the account

  • User fields - When setting up users some fields are compulsory.  Please follow the set-up conventions
  • If you wish to have a generic account, please add all the full details of the people using it in the notes/comments section of the user account.  Full details are the user's name, Single Sign-On (SSO) username, 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.

  • These are used to send out messages
  • Users can set up / delete personal contacts and use global contacts
  • A user account is not required to receive messages

On request of an account, the Chorus team will set up a department record, one administrator account, and one user account

Subsequent user accounts are added and managed by the administrator.  

In order to keep the records consistent across the university/SMS system, please follow these conventions:

Administrator account

  • The username will be: SSO username with admin added, e.g. ouit0423admin  (this is also because some administrators also want to be users to send texts)
  • Email: university email
  • Phone Number: a university extension

User account

  • Username: SSO username, e.g. ouit0423
  • Email: university email in most cases
  • If an email to SMS is to be sent from a non-university email address e.g. a Gmail account then the Gmail address can be entered here; this is required in order to log messages in the MESSAGES tab sent from a non-university email
  • Phone number: a university extension

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.

Users can view their details on the users tab, and edit their password on the 'MY PROFILE' tab 

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

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


This current SMS service is being phased out and users will not be able to request new accounts with this SMS provider, for setting up new accounts please see the Textlocal SMS Service help pages

For user password setting, please edit via the MY PROFILE tab

For administrator password setting - this can be done logging into the portal as an administrator; if forgotten please contact the chorus team to reset the SMS administrator password


If this service is no longer required, please contact the Chorus team to cancel the SMS service.

Your unit will not be charged for 2021 - 2022, however, there may be a final charge if usage is significantly over what you were billed for 2020-2021; please see the costs section below.

For the financial year 2021/22, any new accounts will have a standard minimum charge of £10.

Existing accounts have already been charged for this financial year (2021/2022) 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 (2022/2023) 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 also using inbound messages using keywords or as replies these costs will be factored into the estimation:

  • Inbound messages using keywords: £5 per month
  • Inbound messages as replies: 1.5p per text, £10 per month per user (for the virtual number)
Messages and contacts

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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
  • Use a CSV file to import numbers
  • To send messages 'By Mobile Number':

    Enter a mobile number in the format 07123456789 or +44707123456789 

         You can enter multiple mobile numbers separated by a <space> <comma>

         or <semi-colon> 

  • You can also set your message to send out at a specific time in advance or instantly
  • Click 'Send' to send the message

You can send messages via email, if the option to relay of email to SMS is enabled

  • In the To field - put your contacts phone number in the format
  • The message is restricted to the subject line only - anything put in other fields will not be sent
  • Click 'Send' to send the message
  • In order to send to multiple numbers, separate the numbers by a semi-colon:;
  • In order to send messages using email the 'Allow relay of Email to SMS' radio button must be set to 'Yes'
  • A valid email that the SMS is being sent from is also required
  • This is the case for each user that requires this functionality
  • Messages sent by email will show under the MESSAGES tab under the ADMIN account
  • In order to send messages using email the 'Allow relay of Email to SMS' radio button must be set to 'Yes'
  • A valid email that the SMS is being sent from is also required
  • This is the case for each user that requires this functionality
  • Messages sent by email will show under the MESSAGES tab under the ADMIN account
  • When a department is set up, an Alpha tag is set - this is a mandatory field.  This is an identifier of where the text is coming from.
  • For example, if the Alpha tag is set to 'STUDY', then the recipients will show the text as being received from 'STUDY', i.e. an alias, not a number
  • The alpha tag can be a maximum of 11 characters. Special characters are not allowed except space and hyphen. The first character cannot be a number.
  • Units who are just set up for sending texts will always have texts sent with the alpha tag.  No replies can be made to these texts.
  • If units are also set up to receive inbound messages, the alpha tag is not used when the inbound option is active -  please see inbound messages for further detail. 
  • 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
  • Once set up, contacts can be edited or deleted and may be used when sending messages via the portal

To import and use Global Contacts on each user, the contacts must be set up on the Administrator account

Steps to do this:

  1. Create a .csv file with Mobile, FirstName, LastName as fields, and any optional groups (explained later)
  2. If the mobile number omits the leading 0, this will not matter.  Save the .csv to the desktop
  3. Select CONTACTS tab, leave the settings as they are, and upload the .csv
  4. 'Select Mapping' on the first 3 columns, leave any additional group columns at this point, and click 'submit'
  5. Select any groups, then click 'submit'
  6. Click submit to confirm entries and override duplicates, if required
  7. Then on the User portal on the MESSAGES tab:
  8. - Select Quick Contacts, and Global
  9. - Click on the checkboxes to select contacts to use.  
  10. If required, any Global Groups created can be selected in a similar way


There are several ways to send messages to multiple contacts including using the contacts list or sending messages using email.

Another option is to import the numbers via a CSV file:

  1. Create an Excel file with the recipient numbers listed in column A.  The format of the cells can remain as 'general'.
  2. It does not matter if the initial 0 is missing from the number. 
  3. Then save this as a .csv  file
  4. Under the User MESSAGES tab, click on 'Upload CSV/Excel
  5. Click on 'Choose file'
  6. Browse to the .csv file
  7. Click on 'Upload'
  8. Click on 'Submit'
  9. If required, these can be checked by clicking on the newly appeared link labelled 'By Import' showing the number of mobile numbers imported. 
  10. Note that the numbers now display in the correct format +447xxxxxxxx
  11. Type the message in the 'Message to send' box and click 'Send'
  12. A confirmation message should display
Inbound messages


The Chorus team can set up this functionality - please be aware that there is a cost

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A recipient is asked to text OXFORD and a KEYWORD to 81025, and any text coming in with that keyword can be sent to a particular email address, the online portal or mobile number.

In addition, a text can be sent out automatically in reply.

Once set up, the administrator account will have an additional entry on the INBOUND KEYWORDS tab.

Clicking on the edit button there will allow the selection of how the inbound message is handled

The sending format of inbound messages:

The sender should type the message format: OXFORD CHORUS their message 

For example, to send the message "this is an example message" the sender should type in the message body:

OXFORD CHORUS this is an example message and then send to the number 81025

When a User account has been enabled to receive inbound messages as well as send, there will be two visible options in the 'MESSAGES' tab to send with:

Send with Alpha tag or Virtual Mobile phone number

  • In the case of wanting to receive inbound messages from the sent message, select 'Send with Virtual Mobile phone number' (this is a system bridging number provided by the supplier)
  • Enter the message
  • Enter the mobile number to send to (redacted on below image as it's a real number)
  • Click send

If the recipient replies to the message, this will show on the 2WAY tab (see next section) which is only available on the User portal view.

The 2WAY tab is only available on the User portal view and is used for managing inbound messages as replies


Here, the user can manage the destination of where the replies to inbound messages are sent (and manage responses) by:

  1. Click on 'Edit Virtual Number'
  2. Click on the pencil icon to edit:
  3. Selecting 'Username' will only go to the MESSAGES tab
  4. Also selecting 'Email' and/or 'Mobile number' checkboxes and/or 'Allow auto response for this number' option will show further input boxes in order to manage how inbound messages are received
  5. Click submit

Please note that the 'Reply number' is a virtual (system) number, which is unique to each user using the inbound messages function.

Frequently asked questions

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Admin accounts are there to create users and delete users, user accounts are the only accounts that can send out messages.

Accounts are only set up on request and Single Sign-On will not automatically work.  Please submit a service request if you wish to open an account.

Yes, with the inbound service you can.

It is activated upon request. Texts can be viewed in the 2way section or emailed. There is a monthly charge for this service and for receiving each message.

Yes, either by unselecting other users in the portal or by using the email format (mobilenumber)

No, any number can receive text messages.

Yes, request an SMS report from the Chorus team, specifying the email address you wish to send the reports.

Via the 'forgot password?' link, under the portal log in button

Automatically by cost centre or Project Task code.

There is an option to use the Application Programming Interface (API) which allows you to set up bespoke applications. An extract of the API can be found here.  Please contact the Chorus team about the SMS API for further information.

User and Admin portal

Log in to the SMS Portal


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