Stupid cell phone tricks

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For a project I’m working on we need to send text messages to mobile phones. We could buy or rent an SMS gateway, but most carriers in the US allow you to email a message to yourphonenumber@yourcarrier and it will appear as a text message on the phone. For example, my phone is currently with AT&T so you can send a short email to 9166002497 AT mobile.att.net and it will show up on my phone.

The problem is figuring out what carrier the phone number is at so you can append the correct hostname to the email address. John Wehr pointed out Teleflip, a service that lets you send email to yourphonenumber@teleflip.com and have it delivered to the phone, regardless of carrier. That’s dandy, but I don’t want to rely on some free, third party service that might change or go away later.

After spending some time looking for a way to determine the phone’s carrier, it hit me: I don’t really care what carrier they’re using. If I send the message to the incorrect carrier, it won’t get delivered to the wrong person because phone numbers are unique. It will just bounce. So if I wanted to send a message to 212-555-1212, I could just send a text message to 2125551212@mobile.att.net, 2125551212@messaging.sprintpcs.com, 2125551212@messaging.nextel.com and so on. Send to them all and ignore the bounces. Based on the bounces, you could even learn which carrier someone’s using and just send to that one in the future.

It’s not terribly polite to send email that you know is going to bounce, but it’s not a huge load on the servers and you’d only do it once for each new number.

John
May 5, 2008 11:50 AM

already thought about this, however, if teleflip can do it there's gotta b a way. contact [at] johncaza [dot] com if you have any suggestions!! John

Anna
May 30, 2008 1:26 AM

To text Verizon users, send msg to [10-didgit phone number]@vtext.com. Message length is limited to 160 characters, including the email address. Answer comes from Verizon: https://text1.vzw.com/text/jsp/text_messaging_faq.jsp#howdoisendtxtmsgfromemail

Anna
May 30, 2008 1:26 AM

To text Verizon users, send msg to [10-didgit phone number]@vtext.com. Message length is limited to 160 characters, including the email address. Answer comes from Verizon: https://text1.vzw.com/text/jsp/text_messaging_faq.jsp#howdoisendtxtmsgfromemail

Travis McCrea
June 6, 2008 2:17 AM

If I may suggest: Have a drop down box with the different carriers that you have known email addresses for... then... once they select it... you already have it because $carriermail = $carrierselect or whatever you call them... It would cut your server load down a lot

Becca
August 19, 2008 9:52 PM

Someone has been sending my fiance dirty videos, pictures, etc. and he won't tell me who it is. We are going through t-mobile and I can't figure out how to pull up the text message history. Can you please Help!

Pamela
September 18, 2008 9:23 PM

I always have to block this guy that beat me badly ,,he went to jail,,and got out ,,we knew all the same people and he manages to get my number always ,,he calls private # ,,and he makes me cry ...if I could make him change his number which he never knows what that feels like ,,to pay big money to get rid of someone,,,maybe someone can find a way to make him do this ,,,god bless you if you can ,,I have Chemo treatments am sick and he still knows I am not well and does this ..his number [REDACTED personal info]

Rob Greer
November 10, 2008 9:09 AM

It find it ironic that the comment above from "Guy" in Jan 2005 states that teleflip isn't "going anywhere" but teleflip.com went out of business in 2008. Is there still not solution to this problem? My Google searches are getting me nowhere fast.

Jeff Kitchen
December 30, 2008 9:10 AM

mynumber@mobile.att.net did NOT work. mynumber@txt.att.net did work.

lex
February 20, 2009 1:50 AM

Rob Greer I was try to solve this problem by doing what they call "scrapping a web page" using Python programming language. I thought I could use this URL. http://www.whitepages.com/search/ReversePhone?full_phone=2125551212&localtime=survey But they stopped giving out the carrier info when I tried to scrape it from the page. If anyone can find me a service that has the phone number in URL then I finish writing the code and share with everyone. If anyone can find me a service that has the phone number in URL then I finish writing the code and share with everyone. I really think teleflip migh have just sent the message to all the carriers. I wrote a script to do that already. You can get the source from this location. http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=32287

Hamy
May 25, 2009 4:10 PM

Adam, I used the same thought process for my app, but it turns out that some ported numbers will end up receiving the message multiple times! For instance, sending to myself results in 3 separate messages! Also, wtf is up with all the people talking about relationships in the comments?

Steven
July 25, 2009 10:59 AM

for at&t the addresses are number@mms.att.net (MMS) & number@txt.att.net (Text)

Juanita
October 29, 2009 7:47 PM

Does anyone know how to send free text messages to Saudi Telecom (Aljawal) mobile phone customers?

Shelley
December 8, 2009 1:15 PM

I want to access pic texts that came to me and were lost. My bill shows me the internet address.How Can I look at and save these texts/pics?example 902-000-000@ intersurf.light.net.Can someone tell me how to do this?

Christy
December 21, 2009 11:19 PM

What is the addy for Bluegrass Cellular

Marc
April 11, 2010 7:41 PM

My company, Vocalogic, offers a service to look-up phone numbers and return the carrier and, if it's a wireless phone, the proper email addresses for sending SMS and MMS (picture text) messages. It costs half-a-cent per lookup.

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