SMS routing with real-time HLR lookup

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In mobile networks, message routing is based on a combination of the mobile country code (MCC) and the mobile network code (MNC). The MCC/MNC pair identifies the mobile carrier within the network and is used to build routing lists. Mobile carriers also operate with MCC/MNC codes to generate SMS pricing.

To facilitate effective SMS delivery, message routing with real-time HLR lookup is introduced in PortaSwitch. This means that PortaSwitch requests subscriber information from the HLR (Home Location Registry) in real-time. It obtains the MCC/MNC codes of the destination number and then uses them for SMS delivery and billing.

Thus, two aspects of SMS provisioning are considered in the scope of this document: MCC/MNC rate management and HLR lookup.

MCC/MNC rate management

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The majority of mobile carriers operate with MCC/MNC codes for destinations and rates. Therefore, for convenience in working with these carriers, define destinations in the E.212-MCC-MNC format in PortaBilling.

MCC-MNC codes

You can then upload your rates for these destinations in the tariffs for Messaging services and test the routing by using the SMS routing simulation.

To test message routing, make sure that HLR lookup is enabled on the Configuration server.

HLR lookup

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HLR lookup serves two goals: to identify which mobile network the destination number belongs to and to perform correct SMS routing and billing.

To identify which mobile network the destination number belongs to and to which mobile carrier route the message, PortaSIP performs HLR lookup. This is done by sending an HLR lookup request to the external provider – This is the default HLR lookup provider, however, other providers can be integrated upon request.

Upon successful HLR lookup, PortaSIP receives the MCC and MNC codes for the destination number. The MCC/MNC pair defines which mobile carrier handles this number, even if it was ported from another carrier.

The MCC/MNC codes are passed to PortaBilling to compute a routing list and calculate vendor costs and user charges.


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To provide SMS services using real-time HLR lookup, set up an account within and configure the HLRNumberLookup module on the Configuration server.

Please refer to the Unified PortaSwitch Handbook collection for a detailed configuration description.

Delays in message delivery to a carrier are possible.

If you enable HLR lookup, only vendors that support the E.212-MCC-MNC format will participate in the SMS routing. For customer/reseller tariffs you can define rates in either E.164 or E.212 format. However, to properly calculate charges, reseller and customer tariffs must have the same format.

The support of MCC/MNC codes simplifies rate management and the configuration of SMS providers within PortaBilling. Real-time HLR lookup assures the accuracy of SMS routing and billing. Consequently, you boost your competitiveness within the mobile telecommunications market and attract more customers.

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