What is the Android SMS Relay App?

The Android Relay App works as an SMS gateway that enables the transmission of SMS text messages between our servers and end-user networks. It is also used to receive Missed Calls which can trigger an IVR call back and/or subscribe a user to an SMS campaign. The app will enable anyone to do 2-way messaging anywhere in the world, so you can do more than just blast messaging: you can create engaging, interactive, participatory campaigns.

Simply download our app onto an Android mobile phone, and it will turn your local SIM card into a ‘virtual number‘ that can connect to the online engageSPARK.  If you’re using the app to send the local SMS, then the recipient will see the phone number of the SIM.

Our Android app turns any Android mobile phone into an SMS gateway, especially to provide a local phone number for people to dial or send SMSs to.


How to install the Android SMS Relay App

1.  Go to Phone Numbers at the top of the site when logged in
2.  Click Add Phone Number
3.  Select Link your Android Phone tab
4.  Follow the instructions there to link your phone:

a. Download and install the App on your Android phone. You can get the app in three ways: 1) scan the QR code, 2) download from Google Play, or 3) enter your email address there to get the download link or go directly to this download site:
b. Enter the unique code provided in the App (in orange font on the right side or bottom of the page) and press Link Account
c. Tap the red circle button on your App to activate it. The button should turn green which means the App is switched ON.

After you link your first Android mobile phone, refresh the page and follow steps 2 – 4 above to link another phone (refreshing will allow you to get a new link code to link each subsequent phone). You can link as many Android phones as you want to the system.


What Android handset to use

Any fairly new Android phone should be compatible with the engageSPARK app; so long as it has Android v2.2 on it, which is very old (Android is now on Nougat Version 7.0). It is recommended to use Android phones from major manufacturers—we have had great success with using entry level phones from known brands such as Samsung or LG.

The Relay App can also be installed in a dual SIM phone which can hold two SIM cards at the same time. The primary SIM card will be used to send SMS, but messages received from both SIM cards will arrive in the engageSPARK system.


Checklist when using the Android relay app to receive SMS or missed calls

1. Android phone always has a good phone signal.
2. The phone is connected to the power source.
3. Internet access or WiFi or mobile data plan is always available.
4. Android phone must be located in your program country.
5. The phone number must have sufficient airtime (prepaid load or mobile credits) if the Android Relay App is used to send the SMS responses (e.g. SMS Polls and Auto-Replies).


During the initial setup, a pop-up may appear asking you to input the phone number:

•  The Android Relay App will only ask for the phone number if neither the phone nor the relay app is unable to detect the primary SIM card number. The purpose is only to record the phone number and its network.
•  There is no need to append the plus sign and the phone number can be entered either in local or international format.
•  Leaving it blank or entering another phone number will not alter the message settings or sender ID. The primary SIM card network will be the default “send” route. You can’t use a different sender ID when using the Android Relay App, so its SIM number will always appear as the sender.


When to set up the Android Relay App

a. Use the Android Relay as a trigger or for people to opt-in to your SMS or Voice campaign. When your participant sends an SMS Text or makes a Missed Call to your Android phone number, he can be automatically called or texted back. Or, he can be enrolled in an IVR program (automated call) or SMS campaign that begins at a future date.

i. When recipients reply to your SMS, their SMS goes back to the Android phone, which then forwards them to our server. You can linked the Android relay to a two-way engagement such as SMS Poll, Webhook, SMS Autoreply or engagements that needing an SMS Opt-in feature to subscribe to an SMS or Voice engagement.

ii. When your participants do a Missed Call to the phone number of the Android, our app tells our server and we can call the person back with an IVR message, or we can enroll him in an SMS campaign. Once an Android relay is set up or linked to an existing engagement, end users can dial the Android SIM number and the system will intentionally not answer the call – it will automatically hang up after two to three ringtones. The phone number of the person who did the missed call will be automatically saved in the Contacts database and the system will send the corresponding SMS or Voice message. More about Missed Calls here »

b. Set the Android Relay as your SMS inbound and outbound route. Use this to send the SMS via your Android using the local telco plan of your Android SIM.  If your telco plan you have unlimited messaging, you can use it. This also provides a local phone number for people to reply or send SMS text messages to, such as in SMS Poll or AutoReply engagements. The phone number of the Android will appear as the sender of the message if used as the ‘send route’ or outbound network.


Expansion packs to increase SMS rate limit

engageSPARK Android SMS Relay AppThe default SMS rate limit of the Android Relay is 30 SMS per 30 minutes and adding expansion pack apps will increase this limit. Expansion pack apps are free add-ons to the Android SMS Relay App to increase the throughput of sending SMS text messages in bulk. The Android OS has hard limits on how many SMS can be sent per hour by any one app, ranging from 60 to 100 per hour. This is to prevent one app from abusing your mobile phone plan.

To install expansion apps, click the SMS Rate Limit on the App. Or go to your Settings in the Android SMS Relay App in the More section () at the top right, or access the Menu by pressing the menu button of the phone. Then scroll down and click SMS rate limit and install SMS Capacity Pack 1 or so on (you can install up to 35 packs).

For each expansion pack added, you increase the throughput limit. So, if you install 4 expansion packs, we can then send 300 to 500 SMS’ per hour (as you’ll have a total of 5 “apps” installed). Depending on signal strength and telco infrastructure, you can then send out 1000+ SMS/hour from one Android phone.  And if you need higher volumes, you can link multiple Android phones so that each one sends out 1000+ SMS/hour. Increasing the relay app’s send capacity enables you to scale up your SMS campaigns.


How to troubleshoot Android relay app issues »

Have questions or need a little extra help?