Tracfone and SMS Email Gateway

It took a little doing…this is not a normal topic I would post here, but the information seems so useful that I decided to go ahead. I’m not a cell phone user. In fact, I don’t really like them…if i’m at my desk or at home and my phone rings, i’ll answer it. If i’m at a movie, out to dinner or some other family outing, i don’t really want people to be able to call me. I know that i’m not the majority. Regardless, there are different technical notifications such as website service outages, etc that I would benefit greatly from getting a notification to my cell phone. For this reason, I purchased a Tracfone with 2 years of activation in advance so that I don’t pay monthly bills, no “use it or lose it” minutes, no reactivation fees, etc.

Some of you might say “I told you…” ut it turns out, the email gateway was not so straightforward…I simply wanted to send myself text messages using the or something similar.

You see, Tracfone outsources it network to other national providers. I don’t know the details and after some research, I found a complicated method to determine which provider and thereby which email gateway to use. After following the steps, i determined that that I was on Metro PCS. This was incorrect information. Evidently the database that was used was out of date or maybe never up to date in the first place. It just didn’t work…

But, by this time I had all the formats for the major providers and it occurred to me that there was an easier way. Ready…? Wait for it…

1) send an email to the following addresses:

Note: of course, the above telephone number is not a valid #

2) wait for a message on your Tracfone and when you receive it, send a reply. When you get the reply at the email address you sent the original message to…you know your provider and your email format!

Yes, I know…it seems obvious to me now, but it wasn’t at all obvious before I did it…I spent maybe 2 hours (15 minutes here, 10 minutes there) trying to figure this out on the assumption that it had to be there.

Hope this helps someone else! If it does, post a comment and let me know…thanks!


4 responses to “Tracfone and SMS Email Gateway

  1. This worked like a charm – thanks for doing the research.

  2. Yes, it works. Thanks! A couple notes: Cingular is now Also one old tracfone seems to be on verizon which is

    Sending a message from your tracfone to YOUR OWN EMAIL address at your computer readily identifies the carrier if you look at the “from” in the email. At least it did on mine on the couple I tried.

    Allows you to get info from info services such as MSN mobile for pennies a day on your simple tracfone. Good deal! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the note: tracfone in AK is using CellularOne and the gateway is:

    # of course the number before the @ is not a real number.

  4. Good call. I was writing a text message website and searched for a while until I found your blog post regarding the SMS issue with Tracfone not being central-homed.

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