An SMS short code is a 5-6 digit phone number that is used by businesses to opt-in consumers to their SMS programs, and then used to send text message coupons, offers, promotions, etc. to those customers that had previously opted-in. Short codes are “short” by definition as they are meant to be easily remembered when sending a text.

People opt into SMS marketing programs by texting a word or phrase known as a “keyword” to a short code. They are specifically meant to be shorter than normal phone numbers to make the opt-in process easier. .Additionally, short codes are capable of sending extremely high volumes of text messages in a short period of time. This makes them the optimal choice when looking to reach large amounts of people.

You can get it from companies or sites that offer short code services in Nigeria. You cannot get it directly from MTN, GLO etc. Big Brother Africa, Project Fame are examples of TV programs that use “short code” for SMS voting. It can also be used for SMS competitions, Text 2 Win promotions, Charity SMS donations and can also be used to provide information services eg health tips etc

The way people that text a short code are billed is different from the way they are billed when they text GSM numbers. Short code have the following tariff, N30, N50, N100. The tariff is the airtime value that will be deducted whenever anyone respond to the code.