Of course, sending an SMS via an attached phone or GSM modem using AT commands in PDU mode is fun. Sometimes you just want to send a plain text message from your application and you don’t want to bother with phones, SIM cards, data plans, PDU mode and so on.

In these cases, the easiest solution would be to use an SMTP to SMS gateway. SMTP is the protocol used to send an email (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). What such a gateway does:

  • is receive an email
  • look at the intended recipient
  • figure out a phone-number from/for that recipient
  • send the text of the email as an SMS to the recipient’s phone

You could send an SMS message this way using any SMTP library (they come with .NET, JDK and many open source libraries are available to do this from C or C++).

There is a really simple way to test this: just send an email from your email client.

Of course there are some limitations:

  • The originator will be some service number, but won’t tell you anything about the sender. Typically something like “From: <source-email-address>” will be inserted in the SMS to give you a clue.
  • If your email is too big, it will be truncated at some arbitrary point (160 characters less than the space needed for the originator’s email address).
  • You can’t send anything fancy like WAP push, EMS, etc, just plain text.
  • Not all mobile operators have such a gateway, so you can’t reach all recipients this way.
  • Because of billing and spamming reasons, the recipient will have to opt-in to receive SMS messages via email this way.

Below is a table of mobile operators and the email address format to use to send to one of their subscribers. Replace <n> in the email address with the phone number.

This list is extracted from the Quick SMS WordPress Plug-in developed by Martin Fitzpartick, which is make available under the GPL and BSD open source licenses.

Australia
T-Mobile/Optus Zoo 0<n>@optusmobile.com.au Activation method unknown.
Austria
T-Mobile 43676<n>@sms.t-mobile.at Activation method unknown.
Bulgaria
Mtel <n>@sms.mtel.net Activation url is http://www.mtel.bg/mail2sms/index.php
Globul <n>@sms.globul.bg Activation with sms to 1552 with text OPEN
Canada
Aliant <n>@wirefree.informe.ca Activation method unknown.
Bell Mobility <n>@txt.bellmobility.ca Activation method unknown.
Fido <n>@fido.ca Activation method unknown.
MTS Mobility <n>@text.mtsmobility.com Activation method unknown
Rogers Wireless <n>@pcs.rogers.com Activation method unknown.
Sasktel Mobility <n>@pcs.sasktelmobility.com Activation method unknown.
Telus <n>@msg.telus.com Activation method unknown.
Virgin Mobile <n>@vmobile.ca Activation method unknown.
Germany
T-Mobile 0<n>@t-d1-sms.de Send OPEN to 8000.
Vodafone 0<n>@vodafone-sms.de Send OPEN to 3400.
O2 0<n>@o2online.de Send +OPEN to 6245.
E-Plus 0<n>@smsmail.eplus.de Send START to 7676245.
Iceland
OgVodafone <n>@sms.is Activation method unknown.
Siminn <n>@box.is Activation method unknown.
India
Andhra Pradesh AirTel 91<n>@airtelap.com Activation method unknown.
Andhra Pradesh Idea Cellular 9848<n>@ideacellular.net Activation method unknown.
Chennai Skycell / Airtel 919840<n>@airtelchennai.com Activation method unknown.
Chennai RPG Cellular 9841<n>@rpgmail.net Activation method unknown.
Delhi Airtel 919810<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Delhi Hutch 9811<n>@delhi.hutch.co.in Activation method unknown.
Gujarat Idea Cellular 9824<n>@ideacellular.net Activation method unknown.
Gujarat Airtel 919898<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Gujarat Celforce / Fascel 9825<n>@celforce.com Activation method unknown.
Goa Airtel 919890<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Goa BPL Mobile 9823<n>@bplmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Goa Idea Cellular 9822<n>@ideacellular.net Activation method unknown.
Haryana Airtel 919896<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Haryana Escotel 9812<n>@escotelmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Himachal Pradesh Airtel 919816<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Karnataka Airtel 919845<n>@airtelkk.com Activation method unknown.
Kerala Airtel 919895<n>@airtelkerala.com Activation method unknown.
Kerala Escotel 9847<n>@escotelmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Kerala BPL Mobile 9846<n>@bplmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Kolkata Airtel 919831<n>@airtelkol.com or Activation method unknown.
Madhya Pradesh Airtel 919893<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Maharashtra Airtel 919890<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Maharashtra BPL Mobile 9823<n>@bplmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Maharashtra Idea Cellular 9822<n>@ideacellular.net Activation method unknown.
Mumbai Airtel 919892<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Mumbai BPL Mobile 9821<n>@bplmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Punjab Airtel 919815<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Pondicherry BPL Mobile 9843<n>@bplmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Tamil Nadu Airtel 919894<n>@airtelmail.com Activation method unknown.
Tamil Nadu BPL Mobile 919843<n>@bplmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Tamil Nadu Aircel 9842<n>@airsms.com Activation method unknown.
Uttar Pradesh West Escotel 9837<n>@escotelmobile.com Activation method unknown.
Ireland
Meteor <n>@sms.mymeteor.ie Activation method unknown.
Italy
TIM 0<n>@timnet.com Activation method unknown.
Vodafone 3**<n>@sms.vodafone.it Activation method unknown.
Japan
AU by KDDI <n>@ezweb.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
NTT DoCoMo <n>@docomo.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Chuugoku/Western <n>@n.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Hokkaido <n>@d.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Hokuriko/Central North <n>@r.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Kansai/West, including Osaka <n>@k.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Kanto/Koushin/East, including Tokyo <n>@t.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Kyuushu/Okinawa <n>@q.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Shikoku <n>@s.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Touhoku/Niigata/North <n>@h.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Vodafone Toukai/Central <n>@c.vodafone.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Willcom <n>@pdx.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Willcom di <n>@di.pdx.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Willcom dj <n>@dj.pdx.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Willcom dk <n>@dk.pdx.ne.jp Activation method unknown.
Netherlands
T-Mobile 31<n>@gin.nl Send EMAIL ON to 555.
Orange 0<n>@sms.orange.nl Activation method unknown.
Singapore
M1 <n>@m1.com.sg Activation method unknown.
South Africa
Vodacom <n>@voda.co.za Activation method unknown.
Spain
Telefonica Movistar 0<n>@movistar.net Activation method unknown.
Vodafone 0<n>@vodafone.es Dial 178 for info.
Sweden
Tele2 0<n>@sms.tele2.se Activation method unknown.
United States
Teleflip <n>@teleflip.com Activation method unknown.
Alltel <n>@message.alltel.com Contact Alltel for information.
Ameritech <n>@paging.acswireless.com Activation method unknown.
ATT Wireless <n>@txt.att.net Activation method unknown.
Bellsouth <n>@bellsouth.cl Activation method unknown.
Boost <n>@myboostmobile.com Activation method unknown.
CellularOne <n>@mobile.celloneusa.com Activated by default.
Cingular 1<n>@mobile.mycingular.com Activation method unknown.
Edge Wireless <n>@sms.edgewireless.com Activation method unknown.
Sprint PCS <n>@messaging.sprintpcs.com Activation method unknown.
T-Mobile <n>@tmomail.net Activation method unknown.
Metro PCS <n>@mymetropcs.com Activation method unknown.
Nextel <n>@messaging.nextel.com Activation method unknown.
O2 <n>@mobile.celloneusa.com Activation method unknown.
Orange <n>@mobile.celloneusa.com Activation method unknown.
Qwest <n>@qwestmp.com Activation method unknown.
Rogers Wireless <n>@pcs.rogers.com Activation method unknown.
Telus Mobility <n>@msg.telus.com Activation method unknown.
US Cellular <n>@email.uscc.net Activation method unknown.
Verizon <n>@vtext.com Activation method unknown.
Virgin Mobile <n>@vmobl.com Activation method unknown.
United Kingdom
O2 #1 44<n>@mobile.celloneusa.com Send ON to 212.
O2 #2 44<n>@mmail.co.uk Send ON to 212.
Orange 0<n>@orange.net Activate via website.
T-Mobile 0<n>@t-mobile.uk.net Dial 191 for info. Activate via website.
Virgin Mobile 0<n>@vxtras.com Activation method unknown.
Vodafone 0<n>@vodafone.net Dial 242 for info. Activate via website.

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