This may not be news for a lot of people, but you can send text messages via email, for free, to most major cellular providers. This tip is stellar in that it is part stupid frugal trick (save money on texting from your cell phone by emailing for free), part productivity (you can probably type faster from a normal QWERTY keyboard than a phone), and part tech geek. This article includes step-by-step instructions on how to text via email.
SMS Vs. MMS
First a primer on SMS versus MMS. SMS, or Short Message Service is also commonly referred to as a “text message”. With a SMS, you can send a message of up to 160 characters to another device. Longer messages will automatically be split up into multiple texts. Most mobile phones support this type of text messaging. Using an SMS gateway is great if you only want to send strictly text messages to someone with a basic text plan.
MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service can be used to send longer messages and/or pictures, video, or audio content. It is most commonly used to send a photo taken with a camera phone to another phone. Most new mobile phones with multimedia capabilities support MMS. Due to the added capabilities, it often makes sense to send message via an MMS gateway if both are available. If the recipient has a more basic plan and cannot receive the message (e.g. image or video), then you can revert to an SMS gateway (and opt to send the media in an email instead).
How to Send a Text Message Via Email (List of SMS & MMS Gateways):
To send a text message via email, you must use a SMS or MMS to email gateway (email address). Just substitute a 10-digit cell phone number for ‘number’ for each carrier below:
- AT&T: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- Boost Mobile: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- C-Spire: [email protected]
- Consumer Cellular: [email protected]
- Cricket: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- Google Fi (Project Fi): [email protected] (SMS & MMS)
- Metro PCS: [email protected] (SMS & MMS)
- Mint Mobile: [email protected]mailmymobile.net (SMS)
- Page Plus: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- Red Pocket: Red Pocket uses AT&T or T-Mobile (for GSM SIMs) & Verizon for CDMA. See info. for those carriers.
- Republic Wireless: [email protected] (SMS)
- Simple Mobile: [email protected] (SMS)
- Sprint: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- T-Mobile: [email protected] (SMS & MMS)
- Ting: [email protected] (SMS for CDMA), [email protected] (SMS for GSM)
- Tracfone: [email protected] (MMS)
- U.S. Cellular: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- Verizon: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- Virgin Mobile: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- Visible: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
- Xfinity Mobile: [email protected] (SMS), [email protected] (MMS)
If your provider does not have a gateway address listed here, most providers use one or multiple of the 5 largest networks in the US: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. T-Mobile recently purchased Sprint, but Sprint’s network is still active. If a provider isn’t listed here, you could find out which network is being used by that provider (usually listed under cellular network settings on the phone) and test the gateways above for those networks. AT&T and T-Mobile are used for GSM phones and Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon are used for CDMA phones.
Making the Most of Texting from Email
To take this to the next level from a productivity standpoint, I’d recommend creating ‘contacts’ within your email account so that you aren’t constantly looking up all of those cell numbers that you don’t have memorized each time you send an email.
How to Add Cell Numbers for Text Messaging in Gmail Contacts:
In the following example, I’m going to add my mother’s cell to my Gmail contacts. Let’s say that her phone provider is Verizon and her number is (555)123-4567. You should be able to set up contacts through most email programs (if you can’t, switch to Gmail).
1. Go to contacts.google.com:
2. Click the “Create contact” button (upper left corner):
3. Put in contact’s ‘name’ and the word ‘cell’ to clarify between email and cell contacts in both the “First Name” and “Nickname” (under “Show More”) fields:
4. When composing a new text message in Gmail, simply type in the new contact, enter your text, and send!
What About Texting To Email (Instead of Texting from Email?
Texting to email instructions are much easier than texting from email, and there are plenty of uses for it.
Texting through Email Topics
- What text message productivity tips have you found to be useful?
- Have you figured out any other ways to save on text messages?
- Are there any providers I’ve missed?