Some IT projects require integration of SMS messaging and/or voice calls. To achieve this goal, developers use APIs. These are essentially just programs, sets of instructions, which connect one piece of software to another, without having to build the connection manually. APIs provide building blocks for developers, simplifying and customizing programming to allow them to easily integrate with other services.
There are a number of companies providing API services for SMS and voice calling, including Bandwidth, Plivo, Sinch, Nexmo, and many others, making it difficult to know which one to choose. However, considering our experience, research, and clients’ opinions, we have estimated that Twilio and Nexmo are used the most often.
Thus, we thought to write a post comparing the two, and help you decide, which API provider suits your needs best when it comes to sending SMS or voice calls.
Just like any other provider, Twilio makes it possible for companies and IT-developers to integrate communication applications into the services. Clients can either start from scratch and build their own projects, or implement Twilio features into already existing mobile applications and websites.
What is special about Twilio is how big they are, and how much they try to understand and help customers. Twilio supports global carriers in more than 150 countries all over the world, while the Voice API service has outbound coverage in almost 200 countries across the globe, allowing you to send messages and calls almost anywhere using Twilio. The company makes sure that their service is on a very high level, stating on their website that:
“Twilio leaves nothing to chance, rigorously evaluating carriers to rule out SIM farms and carrier filtering. A unique feedback API is then used to actively monitor quality and adjust routes.”
Incoming and outgoing calls are charged per minute, and as for SMS, you could choose between Local Connectivity, High-Volume and Toll-Free types of messages. Client support is available 24/7, but you can always get a higher level support plan in case you need one. Below, you can see Twilio pricing for support services.
Twilio provides development credentials, allowing developers to simply alter keys without having to change the whole code when using the app in production. You can read more about this here. As for message testing, there are several limitations:
The trial account has remaining $15.50;
With a trial account, you can only send messages to verified numbers in some countries (51 country in Asia, 47 in Europe, 57 in Africa, 18 in Oceania, 42 in North America, 14 in South America). To see the full list of countries, you’d have to create an account and login here;
All messages you send from a trial account will state "Sent from a Twilio Trial Account" at the beginning. You can only have one Twilio number when using the trial account.
Nexmo is one of the most commonly known Twilio alternatives. It operates on a direct carrier network (Vonage), offering services in a growing number of markets. Nexmo deploys adaptive routing, making sure that messages are delivered through the most comfortable route, using the least amount of traffic possible.
However, some of the truly unique and cool Nexmo features, are that they can charge per second, and not per minute, when it comes to voice calls. Meaning, you’ll save quite a lot of money, paying only for the time you actually use.
It should be mentioned that Nexmo covers more than 1,600 carriers in 225 countries across the globe, reaching even the furthest corners of the Earth. Their voice quality and messaging quality engines work to provide clients with clear calls and fast messaging services, ensuring high quality communication in both large and small quantities. Also, Nexmo does not charge for incoming messages.
This API service also has different support tiers available. Their standard support plan is free and offers reasonable response times via email only (from 2 to 4 hours), while their premium support plan offers 24/7 full access to support via phone, email, or chat and costs €\$5,000. Below, you can see Nexmo pricing for support plans.
Nexmo provides a trial period, which offers 2€ for message sending. Besides, there are also following limitations:
- You can only send messages only to verified numbers;
- Every message sent during the trial period will contain [FREE SMS DEMO, TEST MESSAGE] at the beginning.
Examples in Nexmo documentation are presented as plain program code for various languages, often without SKDs. Currently, you can use Nexmo Developer, which contains examples in cURL, Node.js, Java, C#, Ruby, PHP and Python.
Nexmo Developer also provides tutorials, but not as many as does Twilio.
Pricing varies*, no matter what API service you’re looking to use. It’s important to compare pricing plans for both the SMS and voice services, while also factoring in any support plans you might need, before making your final decision.
You can see that Nexmo is less expensive when it comes to sending SMS. Now let’s compare the prices of Voice Calls.
*Please note that the prices above are average estimations. In reality, the cost of any service may vary depending on your location and chosen service plan. It’s best to verify costs with each service before confirming your purchase.
After comparing these two sets of prices, we can state, that Nexmo is much less expensive in use than Twilio. Of course, these numbers shouldn’t be the deciding argument, but if your project is on a budget, they can really be something to consider.
Frankly, there is no definitive answer to this question.
It really depends on your business’ goals, your budget, and the level of support you’re looking for. Both API providers have unique qualities and quirks and, even though they offer roughly the same list of services, their conditions and pricing do differ.
Based on our experience and feedback from our clients, we know that both of these API providers are equally good at performing their job. However, several of our developers have stated that Twilio is particularly better when it comes to the simplicity and comfort of integration. Besides, Twilio’s testing account is much more convenient and their set of documentation is substantially better.
Of course, you should spend some time looking into these services and other competitors to find out if what they offer is indeed what you’re looking for. The best thing to do is to talk to your tech team and ask them for advice regarding which API provider works best for your particular app or website’s needs. This way, you’ll know for sure, that no matter what the final choice is, it will be a perfect match to your goals and ideas.
In case you don’t have a tech team of your own yet, please feel free to Contact us, and ask all of the questions about various API alternatives you want. We’ll always be happy to help.