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Does anyone have suggestions of where to start? Am I talking about a dedicated server with a hardware card to accept the incoming messages? Or do services like clickatell work two ways?
Thanks for any info or suggestions where to start researching.
If you want to DIY you have two options:-
1. Bolt a GSM modem (some handsets can act as one) onto a server. That can either just trigger something in software or you can bridge it to look like a real SMSc using appropriate software (Kannal is an open-source SMSc project). That gives you your own number for the inbound messages.
2. The expensive and complex route is to get a SIGTRAN link into a MNO's SMSc (what most of the gateway vendors do). Not to even be looked at unless you're doing a ton of traffic.