It’s easy to use email to send SMS messages to a mobile phone. SMS via email is a useful way to send alerts to yourself. (I use it to notify myself of e-commerce orders.) This method of sending SMS messages is appropriate for non-commercial and low-frequency activity.
Because the SMS is sent via email to mail servers at the mobile operator, the operator has an opportunity to filter your message as SPAM or otherwise choose not to forward it to the subscriber. This is Good Thing for consumers, who want to opt-out of spam, especially in a mobile context.
However, any SPAM filter can be misconfigured or made overly aggressive. I learned this the hard way when I recently moved from Verizon to Sprint. (The pull of the Palm Pre!) Verizon forwarded my automated SMS messages but Sprint flagged them as SPAM. After a two-hour customer service call, Sprint created an engineering work order to add my domains to their SMS whitelist. Sprint, if you are reading – thanks!
SMS Email Formats for US Operators
If you know the mobile phone number and operator, then you can construct a target email address for the device.
This table describes how to construct an SMS email address for mobile phone numbers at US operators:
|Verizon Wireless||<phone number>@vtext.com|
|T-Mobile USA||<phone number>@tmomail.net|
|AT&T Wireless||<phone number>@txt.att.net|
|Virgin Mobile||<phone number>@vmobl.com|
|Boost Wireless||<phone number>@myboostmobile.com|
|US Cellular||<phone number>@email.uscc.net|
Where <phone number> is the full 10-digit phone number, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comply with Mobile Marketing Best Practices
If you want to send SMS via email for commercial purposes, make sure that your SMS campaign complies with the of the Mobile Marketing Association. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is a mobile industry group established to provide best practices and industry guidelines for opt-in mobile marketing campaigns. MMA members are ad agencies, operators, advertisers, mobile device OEMs and service providers.
The Mobile Marketing Association publishes three major policies and guidelines documents:
- Code of Conduct for Mobile Marketing: Defines conduct of responsible mobile marketing campaigns including consumer opt-in, privacy protections, targeted and limited messages.
- Consumer Best Practices Guidelines for Cross-Carrier Mobile Content Services: Centralized US business rules for off-deck mobile content services. (i.e. business rules for companies unaffiliated with operators who offer ringtones, wallpapers, applications etc for sale)
- Mobile Advertising Guidelines: Industry guidelines for display advertising on the mobile web and in mobile applications and messaging advertising via SMS and MMS.