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We work on a new SFMC org and we would like to send SMS directly to a Data Extension as it is now possible.

However, should we import first the mobile number (with the Locale and the ContactKey) in MobileConnect for the SMS send to work?

Also is the creation of keywords (other than the Help and Stop ones) compulsory for a SMS send ?

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The answer is no. You don't need to import contacts to AllContacts Mobile if you are sending to a Data Extension.

Contacts in the Data Extension with valid data will be added to AllContacts Mobile automatically.

Please note that:

You can send only to data extensions that are marked as sendable and that contain one phone field and one locale field. Mobile numbers used in the data extension must be normalized during the imports process.

Reference:

Send a Message to a Data Extension

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