By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 5/25/2018
Posted: 10/26/2007
Updated: 2/16/2017
Topics/Keywords: #TextMessaging Page Views: 1486
A tech tip from Professor 'Puter.

If you "don't text," as one of my friends says, but have received a text message on your phone that you want to answer, what can you do? One possibility is to use your regular email service to reply.

The most direct way is to use the carrier of the cell phone you wish to contact. Obviously, this only works when you know who the carrier is. (I use T-Mobile Verizon.) The format is as follows for the most popular carriers:

  • T-Mobile: phonenumber@tmomail.net
  • Virgin Mobile: phonenumber@vmobl.com
  • Cingular: phonenumber@cingularme.com
  • Sprint: phonenumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com
  • Verizon: phonenumber@vtext.com
  • Nextel: phonenumber@messaging.nextel.com

where phonenumber = the 10 digit phone number you wish to call.

Teleflip is no longer in business and there are no free generic Email-to-SMS gateways available as of this update. Howver, click here to find a list of all phone carriers.

But what if you don't know the number? There's a new service called TeleFlip that will figure out who to send the text message to. The address then becomes, simply,

  • TeleFlip: phonenumber@teleflip.com

The advantage of using the carrier-specific address is that (at least, with T-Mobile) your email address shows up as who the text message is from. If the recipient replies, the reply should go back to your email program rather than your cell phone, which makes dealing with texting a little easier for those of us who are over 30. With TeleFlip, the "from" is the cryptic number 501; so don't forget to include your name as part of the message.

(That might be different if you sign up for TeleFlip's primary service, which is to have all your emails pulled from your regular email account and sent to your phone. Since there's no charge, I have to wonder who it is, exactly, that wants such easy access to my incoming emails and why. So I haven't signed up for that.)

Anyway, don't forget that there are limits to text message size—usually about 160 characters, which doesn't give you opportunity to say much—and the recipient's usual text message charge applies. For T-Mobile customers, that's a nickel a message, unless you pay for a package deal.