Every MessageBird account includes access to a Shared Number, which is free for everyone to use and allows you to receive replies direct to your account.
A Shared Number is currently available in The Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. If you are based outside of these countries, a UK Number will be selected unless local restrictions do not support it.
The main difference between a Shared and a Dedicated numbers is that with the Shared Number you always need to send an SMS message to your recipient first for them to reply to you. The Shared Number is actually a pool of numbers, and an algorithm decides from which number to send your SMS when you click send. So the recipient can only reply when they receive the SMS and have the number to text back to. All replies end up neatly in your MessageBird Dashboard or software.
If you have a Dedicated Number, then it is only for your use. Any messages sent to that number will always go to you, whether you send out a message first or not.