Articles on: Channels

Introduction to Channels

Channels allow you to send and receive messages or phone calls through your account. You can connect up to 10 channels, including multiple channels of the same type.

Channel Types

Available channel types include aggregators (SMS & Voice), Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Instagram, and more. We're always looking to add channels, so feel free to recommend one to

Aggregator (SMS & Voice)

Aggregators are services that process messages across multiple carriers with exceptional speed and efficiency. They provide virtual mobile numbers and short codes that are easily connected to your account through an API integration.

Examples of aggregators include, but are certainly not limited to:





Africa's Talking


Throughput is the speed of the messages sent by your channel, measured in messages/second. For example, with toll-free Twilio numbers, throughput is 3 text messages/second, whereas standard virtual numbers send 1 message/second.

Adding Aggregators

We're always extending our network of local aggregators. If you don't see an option for your country, let us know. We'd be happy to help source a local aggregator that we can integrate with our platform for your country. You can also simply use our external API channel option.


See our IVR docs for more info.

Nonprofit Discount:

Twilio's Impact Access Program provides eligible non-profits and social enterprises with exclusive discounts and credits for Twilio products.

Android Phone

Our Android Phone channel uses free Android apps to turn your phone into a message relayer for your account. When your account sends a message, it notifies your Android phone. The phone will then send the message out from its local number on your behalf. If somebody responds to that message, the phone will then relay that message to your account. You can send up to 330 messages/hour by downloading our free message packs within the app. While this is an option, it is intended for the most remote of locations that do not have access to aggregators. We do not recommend using this channel type if other options are available! It is much less reliable and requires a high level of hands-on maintenance to work properly.

Ideal for those who:

Wish to send messages immediately

Are developing a service that isn't expected to send more than 330 messages per hour

Wish to deploy in a country where virtual mobile numbers and short codes aren't available or feasible. If they are, please consider using them instead!

External API

The External API channel allows you to send and receive messages via external providers (those not already listed when adding a channel). This could be an external chat/messaging service or an aggregator not already listed (though we're happy to integrate with aggregators for a fee).

For example, if you want to leverage the automation we provide through an external service, you could write hooks for your system and connect them through your external API. We would then send and receive messages via the external service.

As long as your contacts have the URN type your channel is configured to correspond with, we'll send outgoing messages using the endpoint you configure.

Questions? Send us a message via the support widget in the bottom right corner of your browser.

Updated on: 07/11/2023

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