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SMS Text Message Information

This page contains links and information regarding SMS text messaging in the UK


What is SMS?

SMS stands for Short Message Service, but is more commonly known as "texting". Text messaging is of course hugely popular, especially where you consider that the Network Operators never expected it to be a hit - in fact it was 'launched' by accident. Mobile Phone Network Operators used a spare data channel to send each other messages, and it caught on.

Improvements to the service, such as T9 predictive text (to help type faster), have helped to improve the service, and a number of enhancements such as enhanced messaging (EMS) led to MMS multimedia messaging (messages with video, photos and sound).

As well as sending text messages to friends, SMS messages can be used by your operator to send you phone settings over-the-air and software, for companies to send dedicated content (and spam) to your mobile, and for services such as online voting, news alerts and competitions.


Cheaper SMS

If you text a lot, it's well worth having a look around to get on a tariff that offers lots of free texts. We're fans of o2 online, with tariffs that offer unlimited free text messages a month. They offer a number of bolt-on extras too.

Check out details of their online-only tariffs (not available in-store) at .


Text Message Services

  • Get news headlines sent by SMS from: Guardian and Sky News
  • TFL - London tube status information sent to you by SMS
  • Share price and FTSE details to your mobile from:
  •, for links to free web-based SMS services in the UK, and world-wide.
  • National Lottery - Try to win a lottery jackpot by SMS
  • Tex2 - An application that lets you use GPRS or a PC to send text messages
  • Flirt by SMS and send SMS via your PC with


BT Relate SMSSMS Landline phone:

Pictured on the right is the BT Relate SMS handset. This allows you to send and receive text messages to and from your home landline - giving you the ability to use SMS text messaging without a mobile phone. There are a range of home phones that can now do SMS text, including some digital cordless handsets.

The handset pictured also supports CLI to show who's calling, and is available for under £20 from, where you'll also find a range of cordless SMS phones.

BT also offers a service called BT Text, that converts text messages to speech on your hone landline. More information on our BT Text page.


Email to your mobile, over SMS

  • o2 - Free, but sometimes unreliable. Email can be accessed over web or WAP. o2 Unofficial Info
  • Locust - £3 a month for messages to be forwarded to your mobile. Your can also send email from your phone. Lots of extra features
  • Uboot - With a uboot email account, you can receive SMS alerts. Only works with web-based email, not Outlook / POP3

UK SMS Service Centre Numbers

Below is a list of the SMS Service Centre (SMSC) numbers for the main UK operators. The SMSC is stored on your phone or SIM, and is used to forward your outgoing text messages to the network operator. If your phone suddenly loses the ability to send a text message - it could be a problem with the SMSC number stored in your phone.

Check your mobile phone's "Message Settings" or "Message Options" entries, and look for "Message Centre" or "SMS Centre number". If you're having problems, try the phone's instruction book, or look for information online (such as the Nokia and Ericsson websites). If in doubt, contact your mobile phone network provider for help.

Network operator SMS Centre Number
O2 (Was BT Cellnet / Genie mobile)+447802000332 (contract)
+447802092035 (pay as you go)
Alt: +447802000334
T-Mobile (was One2One) +447958879879
Alt: +447973100974
Vodafone +447785016005
Tesco Mobile +447802092035
Virgin +447958879890
3 / Three +447782000800
ASDA Mobile +447785014315
GiffGaff +447802002606


Text Messaging FAQ

Some frequently-asked questions about SMS text messaging:

Cheaper SMS

If you find you're spending too much on your texting, it may be an idea to switch tariff. We recommend that text addicts look at the tariffs available for online customers of o2. Some of their tariffs offer either unlimited texts, or up to 1000 free text messages a month.

See for details of their online tariffs.

Unable to send SMS

If you find that you're not able to send SMS text messages, getting a message like "Your SMS cannot be sent", there are a few things to try checking:

  • Check you can make an outgoing voice call. If you can't, it could be that your phone is out of credit, your account is barred, or you're using a phone that doesn't support the SIM card.
  • Check the SMS Service Centre Number - using the wrong number, or omitting the correct International prefix will cause messages to fail. UK SMSC numbers
  • Try the SIM in another phone. If the SIM works in another phone, chances are there's something up with the phone or the phone settings. If the SIM fails in the same way on other phones, chances are it's a faulty / corrupted SIM card, or there's a problem at the network operator end - contact your network operator to check your account, or to request a replacement SIM card.
  • Still having problems? Contact your network operator Customer Services people for help, or for general advice, try asking in our forum
Boil a kettle by text? The SMS Kettle - Called the ReadyWhenURKettle, developed by Orange, the press release we read in October 2005 said that PG Tips would launch this product in January 2006... This is a kettle that you can send a text message to, to make the kettle boil. The text message kettle was due to be available in 2006, but we're still waiting - and suspect that this may have been a false alarm or a publicity stunt. Know any more about this mythical product? Please contact us

Got a question? Please ask in our Mobile forum


Other links related to SMS:

  • SMS Today - Moremobile's useful guide to SMS text messaging
  • SMS Lingo - Looking to learn the language of text, and what the acronyms mean? Try this dictionary
  • Mobile Forum - The place on our forum to discuss text messages, MMS and technical stuff
  • Mobile Phone FAQ - Help with other common mobile phone questions

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