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Airtel Collect SMS

Airtel Collect SMS and Gift SMS is a messaging feature that allows all Prepaid Airtel customers to send an SMS to another Prepaid Airtel customer free of charge.

The cost of the sent SMS will be paid by the recipient of the SMS.

How Does Airtel Collect SMS work?


  • The service is open to all Prepaid Airtel subscribers with or without airtime balance on their accounts
  • The client must send an SMS with the prefix 801 before the destination number.
  • The destination number must be an Airtel Prepaid customer


  • The destination number will receive a notification SMS informing the customer about the Collect SMS request.
  • To receive the SMS the recipient must accept the charge of the SMS by replying YES to the message. (This message comes in English & Kinyarwanda).
  • If the customer replies with YES, the SMS will be delivered to him/her and the charge will automatically be deducted from his/her account.
  • Customers can send many collect SMS as they wish as long as the recipient has not rejected/ignored more than 5 Collect SMS.
  • If the recipient rejects or do not accept more than 5 collet SMS, then customer will be able to send Collect SMS again after 24 hours or once at least one of the previous Collect SMS was accepted.

What is the price?

  • The service free of charge for the user who is requesting the collect SMS
  • The recipient (sponsor) will be charged 25 RWF the minute he accepts to pay for the SMS ,he should reply by sending "Yes" to the message.

Top 15 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1) What is a Collect SMS?

Collect SMS allows all Airtel customers to send an SMS to another Airtel customer free of charge. The recipient must accept the charges for him to receive the SMS.

2) How to use Collect SMS?

To send a Collect SMS: Simply type your message and send it to 801 followed by the recipient phone number.

For example, type "Dad pick me up @ Andy’s around 8pm " and send this SMS to 801 XXXXX

3) What is the cost for a Collect SMS?

The cost to send a collect SMS is zero for the sender. The recipient will be charged 25 RWF the moment he accepts to pay for the SMS.

4) How do I know if the Collect SMS has been delivered?

The sender will be notified as soon as the message is delivered.

5) What is the validity of a Collect SMS?

A Collect SMS has a validity period of 24 hours. After that time the SMS will be erased from the system. A reminder message will be sent to User B to inform of the pending collect SMS.

6) What happens when Collect SMS is not accepted?

The messages will expire after 24 hours and will not be delivered. A text will be sent to advise on the next step.

7) How many times can I use this service?

You can use Gift or Collect SMS as many times as you wish.

Once a collect sms is accepted, a subscriber will be able to send another collect sms after 24 hours.

8) At what point will I be charged as a sponsor?

A subscriber will be charged in real time as soon as he accepts to receive the collect SMS.

9) What happens if recipient doesn’t have enough balance?

The message won’t be delivered. The recipient will be charged before the expiration time of the SMS.

10) Will my SMS be delivered if I send more than 160 characters?

The message will be delivered in more than one SMS.

11) As a recipient, how I can reject a Collect SMS?

The recipient has the option of rejecting the SMS, the sent message will expire after 24 hours.

12) What happens if my receipt phone number is not an Airtel number?

The service will not work. You will receive a SMS to inform you that the service is only valid for Airtel customers.

13) Does the service work when I am on roaming?

The service only works when in the country.

14) Who can use these services?

All Airtel prepaid and postpaid customers can use this service.

15) Do I need to register to use these services?

No registration is required to use collect and Gift SMS