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Text Messages Not Sending? Here Are 10 Reasons Why

Struggling with messages not sending? Here’s why your messages may not be reaching your recipients.

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There’s little more annoying than seeing the red ‘not delivered’ exclamation point appear in your text messages.

From signal failure to a blocked number to a software issue with your cell phone, there are a variety of reasons your text messages have not sent.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most likely scenarios so you can get to the root of the issue and troubleshoot your messages not sending.

Getting Flagged as Spam by the Recipient’s Carrier

Before we jump into the range of different reasons your messages aren’t sending, there’s one important possibility you need to rule out: Could your phone be sending messages that seem suspicious, or have somehow raised a red flag?

While different carriers have different guidelines and methods on how to deal with a spam number, there are several principles that are universal. 

If your messages fall into one of the following categories, the chances are a carrier has flagged your messages as spam and will refuse to deliver them to the recipient.

  • Sending suspicious links
    If sending an SMS from your native cell phone messaging app, make sure you’re using a link shorterner. This will minimize the chance of links being seen as suspicious by a carrier.

    When using a business texting platform such as SimpleTexting, all links should be automatically shorten when you copy them into the message, so there’s no need to use a manual shortener.
  • Sending multiple texts with the same content
    If the content is repetitive to the point of being flagged by a carrier, the chances are you’re being flagged as spam.

    Use different content formats, share different links and remember to space out your messages if you want to reach your recipients. If you want to send multiple recipients the same message, use a mass messaging platform to avoid being flagged. 
  • Sending exceedingly long messages
    It may sound strict, but multiple lengthy messages could be the answer to the question “Why aren’t my messages sending?”.

    Try shortening your messages to help get them through the spam filter.
  • Using all caps in all messages
    Unless you’re a very angry person, there’s no reason to be using all caps when sending text messages. In fact, it reads to carriers like you’re trying to catch the attention of your recipient.

    Tone it down, and write text messages with normal grammar and punctuation.

How to Write SMS for Marketing

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Why Is My Text Message Not Sending?

If your messages are still bouncing back, here are ten reasons why it could be happening.

1. Requiring a Different Type of Phone Number

When sending out messages, there are two different ways that require different types of phone numbers and devices: phone to phone (P2P) and application to phone (A2P).

P2P is traditional, personal text messaging from one individual to another. When you text on your cell phone to a friend or acquaintance, you are using P2P messaging.

A2P messages are more commonly used by businesses or for marketing purposes. This requires the sender to be registered with an application that allows them to send out mass messages to thousands of recipients at once.

If you are attempting to engage in A2P-style messaging, you will need to have the right type of phone number, which you receive when signing up for a text messaging service. Without this, your traditional phone number will be flagged when sending out mass messages and your messages will not be delivered. 

2. The Carrier Has Blocked Sending Text Messages

Occasionally, there’s an issue with a carrier which means it’s blocked SMS routes. This leads to a re-routing of the message via a working route, which can cause temporary SMS delivery issues.

The good news is this is usually resolved quickly, and the chances are you’ll receive a notification letting you know there’s an issue so you’ll know to wait it out.

3. Local Regulations Restricting Text Messages Delivery

Depending on which country you are receiving or sending messages from, local regulations may be restricting the sending of SMS messages to prevent spam.

For example, in some countries, messages notated as ‘marketing’ can be sent only during workdays and in a specific time window. If sent outside this window, your message will fail delivery. If you use an A2P service, you can schedule messages and send them out automatically at specific times to help bypass these restrictions.

4. Users Could Be Sending Too Many Text Messages

If you’re sending too many text messages, or if you’re utilizing text blasts, your messages could be caught in the spam filter. Depending on the phone you’re using, there are compliance guidelines as to how on how many messages a user can send.

It’s also important to note, that there should be a somewhat even one-to-one balance between sending text messages and receiving them. If the ratio of texts sent to replies received is too great, this could result in messages being blocked to avoid spam. 

5. The Recipient Blocked Your Phone Number

Sometimes the answer is as simple as a blocked number. Maybe the recipient unsubscribed from your messages, or maybe they blocked you to avoid contact. 

Whatever happened, if a recipient has blocked your number, your messages will fail to deliver. 

Understanding How and Why People Unsubscribe from Text Messages

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6. The Message Could Be Considered to Contain Illegal Content

The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) is a regulatory body that enforces guidelines for SMS messages. 

If you’re sending text messages containing adult content, drug references or any kind of criminal activity, your messages will be blocked by the receiving carrier.

7. Users Are Texting a Landline

It may be hard to believe, but there’s a chance your messages have been sent to a landline. 

Although far less common in recent years, people still do have landline phones, so there is a possibility the phone number is simply not capable of receiving text messages.

8. Billing Issues on the Recipient’s Carrier Side

Occasionally, a recipient may go over their plan or be in debt to cell phone provider. In these circumstances, the provider or carrier may turn off that phone number’s ability to send and receive messages as a way to encourage the user to pay what they owe. 

9. The Phone Settings Have “Receive SMS Messages” Turned Off

While SMS is common in the U.S., in other areas of the world, including most of Europe, messaging platforms such as Whatsapp and Telegram are more widely used.

It is possible that the phone you’re sending messages to has turned off ‘receive SMS messages’. In fact, the owner of the phone may not even realize this. 

10. The Carrier Is Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Sometimes, it’s just out of your control. There will be occasions when the carrier or their hardware is having some technical difficulties and messages are not able to be delivered. 

This could be caused by a number of factors but ultimately leads to the inability of users to send text messages and creates confusion. 

Avoid Undelivered Text Messages With the Right Phone Number

Many of the reasons your text messages aren’t sending can be attributed to the type of message you’re sending. If you’re attempting to use a normal cell phone to send our marketing texts and reach a wide audience, you’ll need to switch things up and register with an A2P messaging service.

SimpleTexting offers a two-week free trial, so you can test the waters and send out your messages risk-free. Join thousands of businesses using a text messaging service as their most successful marketing channel.

Alice Dodd
Alice Dodd

Alice is a copywriter at SimpleTexting. When not teaching the world about the benefits of business texting, you can find her feeding family, friends and strangers with her latest baking experiment.

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