With all the myriad methods of messaging available to us online and on our mobile phones, sometimes it’s easy to forget that some older methods of SMS still exist. Like the pneumatic tubes in mailrooms from days of old, the pneumatic tube of texting is sending an SMS via e-mail. If you’re ever in a pinch and without your phone for whatever reason, here is a guide on sending a text message via e-mail.
How to send text messages via email
This guide will walk you through a few different methods to send a text from your email. If you find yourself sending texts through email often, you might want to download our recommended extension to make your life a little easier.
Sending an email as an SMS
Step 1: Using the email client of your choice, compose your email. You can use either your smartphone or your computer to write it.
Step 2: Instead of entering an email address in the recipient box, insert the 10-digit phone number of the person you’re trying to reach.
Step 3: Once entered, tack on the appropriate “@gateway” address behind the phone number. Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common service providers in the United States and their corresponding gateway addresses.
|Carrier||SMS gateway domain||MMS gateway domain|
|AT&T||[insert 10-digit number]@txt.att.net||[insert 10-digit number]@mms.att.net|
|Boost Mobile||[insert 10-digit number]@sms.myboostmobile.com||[insert 10-digit number]@myboostmobile.com|
|Cricket Wireless||[insert 10-digit number]@mms.cricketwireless.net||[insert 10-digit number]@mms.cricketwireless.net|
|Google Project Fi||[insert 10-digit number]@msg.fi.google.com||[insert 10-digit number]@msg.fi.google.com|
|Republic Wireless||[insert 10-digital number]@text.republicwireless.com|
|Sprint||[insert 10-digit number]@messaging.sprintpcs.com||[insert 10-digit number]@pm.sprint.com|
|Straight Talk||[insert 10-digital number]@vtext.com||[insert 10-digit number]@mypixmessages.com|
|T-Mobile||[insert 10-digit number]@tmomail.net||[insert 10-digit number]@tmomail.net|
|Ting||[insert 10-digit number]@message.ting.com|
|Tracfone||[depends on underlying carrier]||[insert 10-digit number]@mmst5.tracfone.com|
|U.S. Cellular||[insert 10-digit number]@email.uscc.net||[insert 10-digit number]@mms.uscc.net|
|Verizon||[insert 10-digit number]@vtext.com||[insert 10-digit number]@vzwpix.com|
|Virgin Mobile||[insert 10-digit number]@vmobl.com||[insert 10-digit number]@vmpix.com|
Keep in mind that if you’re trying to send an email that’s more than 160 characters long, it will often be sent through the Multimedia Message Service (MMS). If the person you’re messaging doesn’t have a messaging plan that includes Multimedia Messaging, then they will not receive the message, or they may be charged an extra fee to open the message. Some carriers also offer email to MMS gateways — detailed in the table above — so if you’d like to send a message that’s more than 160 characters, use an MMS gateway instead of an SMS gateway.
One other thing to note is that some carriers don’t operate their own mobile networks. In the list above, Boost, Cricket Wireless, Republic Wireless, Straight Talk, Ting, and Tracfone are mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). This means they piggyback on other operators’ cell towers, depending on where you are in the United States. Because of this, you may sometimes need to enter a gateway address belonging to either Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, rather than those in the above list.
Download an extension for faster texting
There is a Chrome extension that is specifically designed to help you send texts from Gmail. If you use Gmail and send a whole lot of emails as text messages, this little extension is a valuable — and free — download.
The extension is called Send Your Email to SMS (text), and you can download it here if you are currently in the Chrome browser. All it does is simply add a little phone icon to your Gmail email window. If you type out the email that you want to send and then click the phone icon it will bring up your list of Gmail contacts and you can search through it to find the person you want to text. You also have the option to add a new phone number just by typing it in.
This feature will format your email automatically for texting. You will receive replies on your Gmail box, and you can answer to carry on a conversation with a mobile user. It’s not that useful if you don’t use Gmail, but for regular users with a lot of contacts in Gmail, this extension makes email-to-text so much easier and more efficient — and you don’t have to worry about carrier codes. The app also allows you to reverse the process and get text alerts for important emails that you receive in Gmail, which may be nice if you are on the go and need to follow a particular email conversation.
We should point out that Gmail and Google Calendar also tie in with the If This Then That (IFTTT) smart device management system. That means you can set up IFTTT to schedule a text using Google Voice, for example. If you have IFTTT set up, it’s typically a faster option than going through the whole process with email.
Use web app services (business-friendly)
A vast range of online services and apps provide solutions for sending texts via email. Message Media is one of our favorites since it makes the process very simple. The is used primarily for business communication. It supports SMS, RCS, MMS, Messenger, and WhatsApp messages. You can try it for free to see if you like it, but you’ll need to sign up for a monthly subscription to continue use after the trial period.
Message Media is somewhat similar to using carrier codes, but it has even more additional convenient features. Perhaps the most useful of all is the feature that allows you to see your original message and subsequent responses, so you can quickly track a conversation. If you want to text international phone numbers, you can use the app for that too. For an additional cost, you can access even more features to help you with your business communication needs, such as alpha tags for identifying senders, text-to-voice, dedicated numbers, and other handy extras.