We're sending SMS messages to Contacts using the Send SMS Activity in a Journey Builder Interaction.

I'm quite underwhelmed with the integration between the contact model (in Contact Builder) and MobileConnect. For the uninitiated, you firstly need to create a Contact List in Mobile Connect, then create an Import Definition (still in MobileConnect) to import Contact information from a Data Extension to the corresponding Contact List (this process actually creates an Import Activity in the email app).

While this works, it appears that there is no solution for updating the mobile number. If the Contacts mobile number changes in your source Data Extension and you refresh the Import Definition (by including an 'Import Mobile Contacts' Activity in an Automation), then the mobile number is appended to the Contact in the corresponding Contact List, so the Contact now has two mobile numbers. Refer to screenshot below.


The SMS message is still sent to the previous mobile number for the Contact, not the new one.

I'm told that the only way to fix this is to call Marketing Cloud support and get them to reset the mobile number for the corresponding Contact Key — you can't edit the mobile number either manually or otherwise.

Does anyone know a solution to this?

  • Would contact builder channel address order not resolve your issue here?
    – Bianca
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 13:34
  • The Channel Address Order only determines which mobile number to use, in order of priority. It does not allow a number to be updated. The Answer below is the solution. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 21:31

2 Answers 2


If you import Priority as "1", that should set the phone number being imported as the highest-priority number.

If Priority is not included, the phone number will be appended to the current record (if one already exists for the contact).

  • Hi David -- i just tried importing this, but it still appends the mobile number? Commented May 8, 2017 at 8:15

In big accounts and different ways of updating the phone numbers I found that there can be an issue that an SMS is sent to an old phone number, that should not be in our data base at all. This is a very serious GDPR issue that I feel Salesforce is aware and is not doing anything about it.

Support, when contacted, admits that Mobile import is not the way to go as it appends instead of update (when you choose Update Only in import settings it throws errors).

My solution - Step 1: SSJS that deletes every phone number that is not Priority 1 Step 2: SSJS that updates prio 1 phone number with the number we have in our Contacts DE.

Once this is automated you don't have to worry about GDPR again.

  • Does contact API work, to change mobile number in All contacts? Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 19:14

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