HLR: Well maintained register for streamlined marketing

How can HLR requests optimize SMS campaigns while saving businesses money? In the following post we explain to you what HLR means, how to use it as a feature and who benefits the most.

What is HLR?

The abbreviation stands for Home Location Register. What this means is the respective database of mobile network operators (MNOs), in which all mobile numbers belonging to the network are stored. Each MNO has its own register, so there is no central index. If a new number is assigned, it is also automatically registered in the corresponding HLR and displayed parallelly on a VLR (Visitor Location Register). This second register makes it possible to locate a mobilization within the network.

If the database of a MNO were to fail, no assignment of the numbers of participants would be possible. Connections could then no longer be made and the receiving device would be virtually put out of action. In 2009, such a disaster occurred at T-Mobile. Millions of mobile phone users were upset for three hours because they couldn’t make calls, surf the web, send SMS, or receive anything. That’s when you realize how essential mobile communication is for our generation. HLRs are an integral part of it.

Get important information from HLR requests

If you start an HLR Lookup via HTTP API to our SMS Gateway, you don’t need to know or consider the respective mobile network operator. Requests are implemented through a single access point, giving you access to all HLR databases. You only need the mobile phone number to be requested. For each request, a number can be validated.

In response to your request you will receive comprehensive details about the requested mobile number:

  • Validity: You get to know if the given phone number is valid and correctly formatted (for example, digits could be missing).
  • Activity: You also get up-to-the-minute information on whether the receiving device is on.
  • Localization: As a result of the response you get to know in which country the recipient is registered.
  • Roaming status: In parallel, you can use the roaming status to determine whether the recipient is currently in his home country or not.
  • Network affiliation: You get information about the original MNO who has assigned the number as well as whether the number has changed to another MNO and to which it currently belongs.
  • Connection: In addition, you will receive the Mobile Country Code (MCC) and the Mobile Network Code (MNC) currently connected with the receiving device. These are the “destination details” to which you can now send an SMS.

As a reduced form of HLR lookup, you can also initiate an MNP lookup: The Mobile Number Portability request is usually the cheaper alternative, but also provides less information. Here you will only find out the current MNO and the porting status (whether a phone number portability was carried out by a provider change). In some countries, such as Brazil, Canada, and the US, HLR requests are not supported – thus an MNP Lookup will help you at least a little further.

How to use HLR information correctly

As you can already see from the output data, an HLR respone provides you with rich feedback on a mobile phone number. With this information, you can optimize your marketing campaign, especially in the preparation phase. For example, you can delete invalid numbers from your contacts. On the one hand you avoid unnecessary accumulations of personal data, on the other hand you don’t get embarrassed by sending thousands of SMS to numbers that don’t exist at all. Your budget can be spared enormously. Any SMS sent will cost you money, even if the recipient is invalid. You can achieve optimal targeting by cleaning up your customer data before launching the campaign.

You also save money if you simply exclude phone numbers with roaming status, that is, those who are abroad and thus may be irrelevant to your campaign. The right customer segmentation helps you to control your marketing. Thanks to the international connectivity of the seven gateway, almost all mobile phone numbers can be requested worldwide. Number validation helps you to better classify your customers, assign them mobile networks, country identifiers, and much more.

To simplify the validation, seven has implemented an additional feature. This allows registered customers to take over complete contact lists rather than having to select each number individually. To do this, validate the selected contact list in your account > contacts > more > validate list. Already validated or non-validated telephone numbers are displayed as such under the Validation column.

All phone numbers of the selected list are validated by HLR lookup.

Maintain your customer data: Regular lookups keep your own database up-to-date, and at the same time, you learn more about your customers’ behavior, when and how often they travel abroad, for example. A one-time query may be sufficient for short-term SMS campaigns, for long-term marketing it’s always recommended to combine HLR requests, specific analyzing and statistical evaluations on a periodical basis.

Best Regards
Your sms77 team

Header picture by RossHelen via iStock.com

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