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On Demand Businesses 101

Twilio Alternatives- A Guide to Choose SMS & Voice APIs for Your on-demand Mobile App

Twilio-nexmo-vs-plivo-sinch

A unique idea, state-of-art technology and easy to use features, collaboratively govern the success of an on-demand mobile app. While you already have your idea, selecting proper features and using the right software integrations will not just take you ahead of your competitors, but will make you ready to tap the immense potential in the future.

Juggernaut has come up with this post to help you choose the best SMS & Voice API’s for your mobile app in the on-demand sector. Apart from doing a non-biased comparison of features and the basic technology, I have compared the prices for leading SMS & Voice APIs to help you decide an affordable option which will work best for your mobile app. Twilio is today the most popular actor in this field. Some competitors which can be used as Twilio alternatives include Nexmo, Plivo and Sinch. But before moving to the comparison of available SMS & Voice APIs like “twilio vs plivo” or “twilio vs nexmo”, let’s understand the purpose and need of these integrations.

Do you really need to integrate VOIP & Text SMS in your mobile app?

Well, I would answer the above question in just one word i.e. YES! and here’s why:

An on-demand mobile app without SMS & Voice API can be referred to a mobile phone without a sim card. Text based notifications and VOIP services are the backbone of any on-demand platform as they facilitate the required communication between a service provider and the users. These integrations are required in order to enhance the overall experience for everyone connected to the app – admin, service providers and customers. Although, a mobile app can work without these integrations but the below points will make you understand the use of these features.

  • Verifications Calls & OTP:

In a marketplace model, it is important to verify the mobile number of users at the time of sign-up. Hence there’s a need of VOIP and SMS APIs to carry on these verification tasks efficiently.

  • In-App Calling & Texting:

To streamline the process, an on-demand app requires a way by which admin can communicate with service providers and service providers can communicate with the customers. These requirements are met by integrating Voice and SMS APIs in your Android / iOS app.

  • Trigger based notifications:

It has become important to notify customers at every step of their order journey right from order received notification to dispatch notification and from ‘about to arrive’ notification to the final delivered notification. These real time status notifications can only be sent if you integrate a good SMS API in your mobile app.

  • Number Masking:

At times when a service provider has to get in touch with the customer or vice versa, number masking has to be implemented in order to safeguard the privacy of the person. VOIP APIs enable customers to interact with service provider from within the app without revealing their number.

  • Broadcast Messages:

There will be times when you have to make special announcements to your customers or service providers. The announcements can be about some upcoming discounts, new promo codes, changed prices or anything else that needs to be sent to all people or a selected group. To make such announcements, you again need some Text SMS API.

Now, when you are are clear about why you need an API for VOIP, SMS texts and notifications, let’s move on to compare the best available options.

Things that matter in deciding which API to choose:

  1. Stability: You want something you can rely upon.
  2. Pricing: You should not spend anything more than what is required.
  3. Verification: Through automated voice calls or a one time password.
  4. A dedicated number: It is optional.
  5. Delivery Reports: Optional but make sure you have access to reports for better analysis.
  6. Availability in your country: Make sure that the service is available in your area.
  7. How easy is the Integration: Know if it the SDK can be integrated in your app.

Leading Voice & SMS API provides for Android / iOS mobile apps with Prices:

Here’s a price comparison chart for the 4 leading SMS and Voice API providers i.e. Twillo, Sinch, Nexmo and Plivo. The prices listed in the chart below are for the USA. I have also listed some other basic features along with their price for each of these API providers. The pricing charts and feature list will make it easier for you to compare twilio with nexmo and do a comparison between Plivo vs Twilio along with another competitor in this segment named Sinch.

Price Comparison of SMS APIs for Android and iOS mobile app

twilio-vs-nexmo-vs-sinch-vs-plivo

Price comparison of VOIP Service (Voice APIs for Android & iOS apps)

twilio-vs-nexmo-vs-sinch-vs-plivo-1

Some other important features and prices to be considered:

All prices listed in the chart are for the United State of America. To find the prices and availability in your own country, follow the links in the features section of each SMS & Voice API provider below:

Apart from a dedicated number and incoming / outgoing SMS costs, there are a lot of other things which you might be interested in. I have listed these features along with their price for each of the 4 SMS & Voice API Providers.

Twilio API Features and Pricing:Twilio_logo

  • Twilio has pre-defined SMS packages where the cost of first 5 million messages is $0.0075 / SMS and for the next 20 million messages $0.005 per message.
  • Similar packages are available for Shortcodes, MMS etc.
  • Twilio has a special product by the name Authy which deals in two-way authentication.
  • Twilio offers local numbers at $1 per month and toll free numbers at $2 per month.
  • Call recording and call storage facility is also available at $0.0025 and $0.0005 per minute respectively.
  • While Twilio offers basic conference call for free, global conference calls are charged at $0.0020 per participant per minute.

Major companies using Twilio: Uber, Paypal, Instacart, Coca-Cola, OpenTable.

Check Twilio pricing in your country here: https://www.twilio.com/sms/pricing

 

Sinch API Features and Pricing:sinch-logo

  • Sinch offers free app to app calling for the first 25,000 minutes and thereafter just $0.005 per minute.
  • App to phone calls are charged at $0.01 / minute.
  • Unlike Twilio, Sinch offers free inbound SMS, both for long codes and short codes.
  • Verifications are charged at $0.0075 / verification.
  • Sinch offers free instant messages for 25,000 monthly active users and $0.0035 / user for above that.

Major companies using Sinch: Tango, Truecaller, Splyt, Swedbank, BeepMe.

Check Sinch pricing in your country here: https://www.sinch.com/pricing/voice/

 

Nexmo API Features & Pricing

  • Nexmo is known to offer free inbound SMS.nexmo-logo
  • Any phone verification is charged at $0.1350 / successful verification.
  • The prices to get a dedicated toll free number and a normal number are same at $0.90 / month.
  • Nexmo offers a shared shortcode number absolutely free.
  • Inbound Shortcode messages cost users $0.005 / SMS.

Major companies using Nexmo: Airbnb, Expedia, Viber, Zipcar, Alibaba. Nexmo is one of the major competitor of Twilio.

Check Nexmo pricing in your own country here: https://www.nexmo.com/pricing/

 

Plivo API Features & PricingPlivo-logo

  • Plivo offers free call recording and free call storage.
  • Plivo charges $0.0030 for outbound calls and $0.0210 for inbound calls from toll free numbers.
  • Inbound SMS are absolutely free for long codes as well as short codes.
  • Plivo offers real time delivery reports for messages.
  • Vanity short code numbers are also available with plivo at $4500 / 3 months.

Major companies using Plivo as an Twilio alternative include: Mozilla, Netflix, Homejoy. CallHub, Pagerduty.

Check Plivo pricing in your own country here: https://www.plivo.com/pricing/

The Bottom Line: Twilio vs Nexmo vs Plivo vs Sinch

As you look forward to integrate a Voice and Text API in your on-demand mobile app, you might again want to make a list of the things that matter most to you. If you are in a startup phase and have not yet got big funding, you may want to look into Twilio alternatives like Plivo or Nexmo, which are more affordable. If money is not a constraint, than I advise you to go with the most popular option i.e. Twilio.

 

Get in touch with us for any help in integration of these services or to develop your on-demand idea into a working business model!

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6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Twilio Alternatives- A Guide to Choose SMS & Voice APIs for Your on-demand Mobile App“

  1. Divya says:

    Hi, You can include Spring Edge SMS Gateway ( http://www.springedge.com ) in above list.

  2. Haserdene says:

    When we signed up with Plivo, the salesman, Ankur Passi, advertised $0.003/min for a SIP trunk. As soon as we ported over, Plivo started charging us $0.015. They claim that handing to our Asterisk server is the 2nd leg and therefore it has to be charged as if we are using their termination. We have our own termination partner and are not using Plivo’s. We tested it with Twilio and there is no 2nd leg charge with Twilio’s service.
    Plivo engages in a deceptive business.

  3. Sandeep says:

    Looking for a saas product that allows you to make and receive calls using twilio ? Try https://www.durbhash.io . Its free for teams of upto 5!

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