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Text Message via Email


How can I get text messages sent via email to appear from a single sender rather than each one being unique?

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Best answer by srickar 1 April 2017, 05:11

@tmo_marissa @balpaugh I can help explain this! I am the spam admin for @tmomail.net. Email to mobile is MM3 messaging. It routes through the MMSC, but if the message is less than 160 characters, plain text, no media content, the message format meets criteria to be redirected to SMSC for delivery. This is hard coded standard and cannot be customized per sender or recipient. The message is delivered over SMS 97xx/2300 gateway which is a random assignment. So this is why messages are not nested in the same conversation.

Those three slashes signify the plain text ASCII message format sender / subject / body. Why? Plain text SMS is the sum of the sender + subject + body = (<160 char). Plain text is the lowest denominator decision. If less than 160 characters, RFC standards commit the message to traditional SMS delivery because there is no transcoding or HTTP get required for such a basic message format.

When it's redirected to SMS, the sender header info is dropped in favor of SMSC gateway identity. The workaround is to force the messages as MMS which would be HTML, multimedia, longer than 160 characters, or include a subject which should force it to remain as MMSC message.

I understand this is a pain, as firefighters use them for CAD paging. This design went into place when the MMSC vendors were swapped out over 4 years ago and it's following RFC messaging standards. The old vendor used to route it down a static gateway but if that gateway was down or failed, nobody got their messages! For modern gateway redundancy, the messages need to round-robin to the nearest available SMS gateway and so the messages are not hashing to a specific exit.

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Userlevel 6

Hey @balpaugh‌!  This is a great question.  I tested on my phone (an LGV10) by sending some emails to my line through the 1XXXXXXXXXX@tmomailnet format, and because I have my email address saved as a contact, they appeared in the same message thread.  I'm not sure if that would work for a back-and-forth, though.  Can you try saving the email address as a contact and see if that works?

- Marissa

Thank you, but I’m not sending from my email so there is no way to add any contact information.

As you can see in this picture, multiple alerts can fill my screen rather than within a single text string.  I’ve not had this issue with other mobile carriers until switching to T-Mobile.  How can this please get changed????

Thank you,

Bryan

Userlevel 6

I'm so sorry, @balpaugh‌ - that image didn't come through.  Can you try again?

Also, I must have misunderstood your original question.  You referenced "text messages sent via email", so I assumed you were talking about the service that allows our customers to send SMS from an email system... hopefully the screen shot will make it a little more clear, but if you can give me some details I'm happy to help!

- Marissa

Hopefully this will come through better.

It is sending emails through your SMS gateway but they’re actually coming from my home automation system, routed through my Comcast email to you in the form of 16514422860@tmomail.net

When I get them on my phone rather than indicating that they’re coming from my email (which is what Verizon did) they show as coming from 391-1, 410-8, 371-1, etc…

 

 

Hopefully this will come through better.

 

It is sending emails through your SMS gateway but they’re actually coming from my home automation system, routed through my Comcast email to you in the form of 16514422860@tmomail.net

 

When I get them on my phone rather than indicating that they’re coming from my email (which is what Verizon did) they show as coming from 391-1, 410-8, 371-1, etc…

 

 

Userlevel 6

Wow.  I wonder if the difference is that they're automated?  I'm sorry to come back to this, but have you tried creating a contact entry in your phone with no information other than a name in the name field and that email address, if your phone will allow it?

- Marissa

Yes, my phone my email client, they all have the contact entries. I really see no advantage to the way T-Mobile is handling these messages, even the ones I receive from T-Mobile on their specials, show up as coming from 747-X. There has to be a way to change that on the T-Mobile side.

Userlevel 6

I have to say, I'm at a loss here - my messages from TMO come from short code 456!  What kind of phone are you using? 

- Marissa

iPhone 7 Plus

Have you been able to find out anymore on this issue?

Userlevel 6

Thanks for your patience @balpaugh‌ - I tested and tested and couldn't recreate this - but then I asked a colleague of mine who uses an iPhone.  He tested sending messages to his line using the tmomail address, and even coming from the same email, sure enough they appeared as unique messages coded with the same format short codes (970-1, 320-2) instead of in a single thread from one contact.  It sounds like this experience is not what you're accustomed to, and I'm sorry it's different than your previous provider - I can definitely understand that it's not ideal!  I honestly didn't know about this difference between the messaging systems on Apple/Android, and appreciate the learning opportunity and the feedback.  I'll pass it on!

- Marissa

Unfortunately, it's more than just "not ideal". It's very problematic as I get all of my security alerts that way and not being in a single thread makes it difficult to monitor and very easy to miss critical alerts.

Sent from my iPhone

Userlevel 6

I hear you.  It definitely follows that in this scenario, missing a message because of the way that they appear in your inbox has the potential to be much more important than just overlooking an average email.  I've already forwarded the feedback for you, and you're welcome to Community-2153 and work with Tech Support as well - but I feel like it would be irresponsible to suggest that we'll be able to file a ticket for something that appears to be the expected behavior/functionality of this service with iPhones at this time.  We do take customer feedback seriously (we used customer feedback to determine every one of the UnCarrier movements) so hopefully this will be a pain point that yields results!  I know this isn't the fix you were hoping for, and I'm sorry that there's no immediate remedy to the issue, but I do thank you again for posting and providing a clear example of how this affects you. 

- Marissa

I’m sorry but I completely disagree that this is the expected functionality from any phone. It certainly didn’t happen on my iPhone when I was with Verizon or AT&T and I had no reason to expect it to be any different with T-MOBILE. Since I see no apparent advantage for them to occur in this fashion, I truly suspect whether it is a desired outcome either.

How can I talk to someone with greater authority within T-Mobile? This is unacceptable and certainly NOT something I can “live” with for any extended period of time.

Thank you,

Bryan Alpaugh

Userlevel 6

I hear you, Bryan.  Please let me explain the use of the word "expected" - I want to make sure you don't think I'm being dismissive of this issue.

I had two of my colleagues (fellow moderators here) test this by sending emails to their own iPhones, and their messages showed up in the same format.  Then I ran a search through our internal list of system issues (known and emerging) for any trouble with this type of messaging on iOS equipment and came up empty.  Because of that, I found it fair to state that this is the current expected functionality - the logic being that if there were a possible setup tweak needed, it wouldn't happen to other people; and if it were a system error, it would be listed in the engineering worklog. 

We may not be the change-makers ourselves but we have the ear of the powers that be.  I've leveraged an internal channel available for front-line employees to escalate customer pain-points and get them in front of senior leadership to report this, and also sent a message regarding this situation to our contact that handles iOS equipment.  This is the limitation of what we can do here in the Support Community.

That said, if you'd like to report this concern through additional channels, you can reach out via any method listed here: Community-2153‌.  I truly don't think it would be a bad idea to start with Tech; perhaps they are able to file a ticket for this - I just don't want to promise that and have you be further disappointed (and since this is a user forum, our team does not have the account access required to test this).  Thanks again for your time and for staying so engaged here.

- Marissa

Actually, I’ve already done that as well. I talked to one of the support techs who said they were going to check into something and get back to me and ultimately has fallen into a black hole. This is unfortunately my worst fear in dealing with large companies like T-Mobile.  Any issue they don’t want to deal with, they push off and ignore I’m sure hoping that I’ll just go away. Since I don’t have a name, every time I contact them, it’s like starting over and ultimately, I probably will get frustrated and eventually give upand move my business back to Verizon where I know it works correctly.

Bryan

Userlevel 3
Badge +3

@tmo_marissa @balpaugh I can help explain this! I am the spam admin for @tmomail.net. Email to mobile is MM3 messaging. It routes through the MMSC, but if the message is less than 160 characters, plain text, no media content, the message format meets criteria to be redirected to SMSC for delivery. This is hard coded standard and cannot be customized per sender or recipient. The message is delivered over SMS 97xx/2300 gateway which is a random assignment. So this is why messages are not nested in the same conversation.

Those three slashes signify the plain text ASCII message format sender / subject / body. Why? Plain text SMS is the sum of the sender + subject + body = (<160 char). Plain text is the lowest denominator decision. If less than 160 characters, RFC standards commit the message to traditional SMS delivery because there is no transcoding or HTTP get required for such a basic message format.

When it's redirected to SMS, the sender header info is dropped in favor of SMSC gateway identity. The workaround is to force the messages as MMS which would be HTML, multimedia, longer than 160 characters, or include a subject which should force it to remain as MMSC message.

I understand this is a pain, as firefighters use them for CAD paging. This design went into place when the MMSC vendors were swapped out over 4 years ago and it's following RFC messaging standards. The old vendor used to route it down a static gateway but if that gateway was down or failed, nobody got their messages! For modern gateway redundancy, the messages need to round-robin to the nearest available SMS gateway and so the messages are not hashing to a specific exit.

Userlevel 3
Badge +3

Brian....did I answer your questions? Did you have a chance to test out my suggestions?  I'm ready to assist you here in message engineering. 

Userlevel 6

Hey @balpaugh‌!  I just wanted to check in and see how you were doing with this.  I'm not sure if there was a way for you to test this workaround and use one of the methods @srickar‌ described to force those emails through MMS, but we'd love to know if it worked if you've got a second to give us an update.  Hope you're doing well!

- Marissa

Hi. I've been away on vacation so I haven't been able to test anything but I plan on doing so when I return later this week.

Thank you

Sent from my iPhone

Userlevel 3
Badge +3

OK enjoy the rest of your vacation. When you return, if you cannot get the workaround, let Marissa open a ticket for you and that way we can exchange contact information. Thanks!

Userlevel 6

Sorry to interrupt your vacation, @balpaugh‌, and massive thanks to you for all your help @srickar.  Since the Support Community is a public user forum, we don't have the access necessary to file tickets - we typically direct users to our dedicated Tech Care or T-Force teams when that's necessary.  That said, we are super grateful for your input and we won't waste your support!  If it's needed I will be more than happy to collect information from Bryan via PM and pass it along. 
I hope you have a restful, relaxing remainder of your trip - looking forward to an update when you return!

- Marissa

Good morning Marissa. I returned from vacation and was finally able to test this. While I was able to prove what you he was saying does in fact work, the character count required is actually over 384 and not 160. That being said, I did notice that doing so also introduced a significate delay in receiving the message which ranged from 10’s of seconds to several minutes while the shorter messages seem to be much timelier coming in seconds.

So now I’m forced to choose between the format I need and potentially a lengthy delay receiving the message or quicker receipt but having the non-consistent senders.

Thank you,

Bryan Alpaugh

Userlevel 3
Badge +3

Let's investigate that delay please. Are these iPhone devices? Can you submit a support ticket so that I can obtain your mobile # and can review the server transactions to determine why there is a delay? I want to ensure transactions are not 1st trying to route through RCS messaging, timing out, and then delivering over MMS fallback.

It is an iPhone and the number is ***-***-****.

Sent from my iPhone

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