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How do I Send an International SMS?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 16, 2024
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An international SMS may also be referred to as an international text message. This capability allows a person in one country to send an alphanumeric message to a person in another country. To do this, you must have SMS capability. After you compose the message, you will also need the recipient’s full telephone number.

First, you need to make sure you have text messaging capability. Having cell phone service does not mean that you have the ability to send text messages. Even if you do, you also need to make sure you have the ability to send an international SMS. Sometimes international communication requires a person to sign up for special services and to pay fees.

Second, you need to compose your message. How you go about doing this will depend on the type of phone you have. You may have a shortcut on your phone that will allow you to access your messaging center, which is where you can create and review text messages. If you do not have a shortcut, most likely, you will need to go into the menu and find the messaging folder.

Once you have selected the option to compose a new text message, you should see a blank area, which you can think of as a sheet of paper. This is where you will place your message. You can do this either using the telephone’s number pad or keyboard. If you have a touch screen phone, the number pad and keyboard may be on the screen.

Some telephones have letters listed on most of the keys that have numbers. If your phone is like this, you may need to press a button several times to get the letter that you want to appear. For example, if the button with the number 2 on it also has A, B, and C, you will need to press that button three times to display a C on the screen.

You can generally include letters and numbers in your international SMS. In many cases, however, you will not be able to include emoticons, pictures, or other types of media. If you do, the person may receive the message but these items are not likely to be accessible to him. Sometimes, the inclusion of these items will prevent the effective transmission of the message.

The third thing you must do is include the recipient’s contact information. You will need more information when sending an international SMS than you regularly would for a text message. You need to know the international access code for the country you are in. This number allows you to communicate outside of your nation.

After those numbers are entered, you will need the country code for the nation where the recipient is. This allows you to connect to telephones in that country. Then, immediately following those two sets of numbers, you will enter the recipient’s telephone number. Once you have done this, press the “send” command. It may take a bit longer for the recipient to receive an international SMS than it normally does for him to receive text messages.

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Discussion Comments

By fify — On Jun 01, 2011

@ddljohn-- There could be several things going on there.

Did your phone say that the message was sent? If you entered the wrong number, you should get a message saying that it could not be sent. If it says it is sent, it should be. However, some service providers don't work well together. You can check with your service provider to find out if it appears to have gone through.

The other thing is, sometimes there is disruptions with time. Most of the time, my messages are received instantly. But once in a while there will be a delay. I remember once, my brother got my sms 10 hours after I had sent it. So keep that in mind as well.

By ddljohn — On May 29, 2011

I sent an international sms one hour ago and haven't received a response. Does that mean it didn't work? How can I confirm whether they got it or not?

By candyquilt — On May 26, 2011

My mom lives abroad and since international calls are expensive, we communicate by text messaging most of the time.

My cell phone plan actually doesn't allow international calls, but I have no problem sending international text messages. I do pay extra for an international sms than with regular sms though.

All I do is enter 01 and then the country code and then the phone number. Oh and if the phone number starts with a zero, leave the zero out. This was the first thing I learned when I was texting my mom. It wouldn't go through with the extra zero.

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