Since most consumers have their mobile phone within reach and keep the device always on, government agencies can make public information and government services accessible to the population anytime and anywhere. For example, SMS is an ideal communications tool to disseminate emergency information during natural disasters, terrorist attacks or service outages. Both government and citizens can benefit from the use of SMS in these cases to save lives or seek information on official services.
The general availability of SMS - those 160-word characters exchange on mobile phones - from the most basic handsets to the most feature-rich makes text messaging the lowest common denominator for information dissemination. Moreover, citizens don’t need smartphones or expensive data plans to remain informed. Put simply, the key benefit of SMS to local, state and federal government agencies is the ubiquity of SMS - nearly 100 percent of mobile phones can support - and the high likelihood of text messages being read soon after receipt.