I have a Nokia Lumia 520 running Windows Phone 8.1.

I sent an SMS to myself (in a foreign language) containing these special characters: ă, â, î, ș, ț and received the text unchanged. How is it possible as long as the GSM 03.38 Character Set does not contain the above mentioned letters? (I even got a text from the mobile phone operator confirming the message was delivered to my phone number.)

Will the characters ă, â, î, ș, ț be received as they are if I send SMSs to other peoples in various countries?

As a note: My opportunity to send such texts to real people are rare so I can not simply do tests now and see if they receive the SMSs unaltered.

  • I have done some more tests and it appears I can send ă, â, î, ș, ț or other unusual special signs but the maximum allowed length of an SMS will be shortened from 160 to just 70 characters. Dec 25 '18 at 22:33

Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile (like most modern phone systems) support Unicode SMS, where messages that contain non-ASCII characters are instead sent in a different character set (almost certainly either UTF-8 or UTF-16; I'm not fully sure). When sending Unicode SMS, each character takes up more space in the limited buffer allocated for SMS (which is only 140 bytes per message; 160 ASCII characters is achieved by throwing away the high bit of each character and packing the characters 7 bits at a time instead of spacing them out to 8-bit bytes). That's why you are limited to a shorter number of characters per message, and why some more esoteric characters (like emoji) take up multiple characters' worth of space (they require multi-byte Unicode values).

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