SMS costs: What is a fragment?
Helen avatar
Written by Helen
Updated over a week ago

If you work at a Trust or Community organisation, click here to learn about fragments!

What is a fragment?

When an SMS is sent via Accurx, although it appears as 1 message to the user and the patient, it is split into chunks of around 160 characters, each called fragments.

SMS costs are calculated based on the usage of these fragments, where a fragment is 160 characters of text. This includes spaces and special characters.

On average, one Accurx text is made up of 2.3 fragments. Each time you go over a fragment boundary, you are charged for the fragment above i.e. 305 characters = 2 fragments, 307 characters = 3 fragments 👇

Image showing fragment boundaries. 1 fragment = 160 characters. 2 fragments = 306 characters. 3 fragments = 459 characters. 4 fragments = 612 characters

SMS costs are currently (July 2023) calculated at 1.99p (£0.0199) per fragment if paid via direct debit or 2.09p (£0.0209) per fragment without direct debit. The costs exclude VAT.

If you are unsure about who covers these costs in your area, please feel free to reach out to your ICB or the Accurx Support Team for more information 💬

What does this mean for you?

At Accurx, we are committed to helping to reduce the financial burden of SMS costs for our customers.

In order to make Accurx as cost-sustainable as possible, it's important to focus on reducing the number of unnecessary fragments. We understand the huge benefits of SMS communications in Primary Care, so we want to focus on optimising fragment usage and reducing any unnecessary fragments which occur when SMS messages are sent which could have been shorter, or where alternative and comparable methods are available.

By becoming more efficient in these areas, we can make patient communication as sustainable as possible.

What is Accurx doing to help?

We are focusing on two main areas to optimise fragment usage:

  • In-product: Key product developments we are considering to reduce unnecessary fragments using product data.

    • E.g. Reducing Accurx automated messaging, reducing the length of all Accurx templates, and combining patient links.

  • Out-of-Product: Support Accurx users to make more informed decisions around their fragment usage.

Our long-term vision is to have more functionality that isn’t reliant on SMS.

As part of this, we support the ability to send Batch Messages to patients via the NHS App.

How can we be more fragment-efficient?

If you still have any questions or concerns, feel free to chat with us using the green message bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of this page.


Did this answer your question?