How to Fix SMS Fails to Send in Android?

There are numerous reasons why SMS texts on Android can fail to send (or be received; however, this article will focus on the failure to send). If you cannot receive SMS texts, please refer to “Phone Not Receiving Texts.”

However, if you can receive texts just fine, but your texts consistently fail to send, the issue likely resides within your SMSC number. This is neither a hardware nor software issue; thus, a factory reset of your phone will not resolve the problem. The SMSC number is actually written to your SIM card, not stored on your device.

In this article, we present several methods to fix the SMSC number on your Android device.

An often overlooked problem is an incorrectly configured SMSC number. The SMSC is responsible for sending SMS messages from your device. When you send an SMS, it is first routed to the SMSC, which then forwards it to the recipient. It is your SIM carrier’s responsibility to manage the SMSC network.

If your SMSC is set incorrectly, you will still receive text messages because the sender’s SMSC is dispatching messages straight to your SIM number. However, your messages fail to send because they are not reaching your carrier’s SMSC. For illustration, see this simplified graphic:

Diagram of how SMSC functions.

Your SMSC may have been inadvertently misconfigured or deleted altogether. In my personal experience, my SMSC was erased when I downloaded a root app that promised to enable VoLTE. Lesson learned – applications that modify your telephony settings can be problematic if you are not certain of their function.

Solution 1: Setting SMSC Through Secret Phone Menu

This method is widely recommended by experts and works for most users; however, it did not work for me. When attempting to enter my carrier’s SMSC number in the appropriate field, the menu would provide a “failed” error, regardless of whether I converted the SMSC to PDU format. If this method also fails for you, proceed to the next one.

  1. Open your phone’s dialer app.
  2. Dial *#*#4636#*#** on your keypad.
  3. A menu will appear. Select “Phone Information”.
  4. Scroll to the SMSC option, and tap ‘Refresh’. This should automatically attempt to set your SMSC number correctly.
  5. If it fails to refresh (‘Refresh error’), you may need to set it manually.
    An example of an SMSC refresh error.
  6. Input your carrier’s SMSC number in the SMSC field.
  7. After entering the SMSC number, tap ‘Update’.

If you are uncertain of your carrier’s SMSC, you might consider consulting a list of global SMSC numbers for popular carriers by country. Remember, though, that such lists may not be current. It is best to contact your carrier directly for the correct SMSC number.

Should you receive an ‘Update error after manually adding the SMSC, it is suggested by many to convert the SMSC number to PDU format. While this approach was unsuccessful for me personally, the following steps may work for you:

  1. Navigate to Online PDU Encoder and Decoder.
  2. Move to the bottom of the page where you’ll find a field for the SMSC conversion.
    Conversion of SMSC to PDU.
  3. Clear any text in the “Receiver” and message fields above the “Convert” button.
  4. Type in your SMSC number in the relevant field and click convert.
  5. Use the first 16 digits from the second line on the right side of the box (as highlighted in our screenshot).
  6. Insert this PDU string into the SMSC field and hit “Update” once more. If this still fails, try prepending a + sign before the PDU string. If it still fails, proceed to the next solution.

Solution 2: Setting SMSC in Default Messaging App

Many users prefer alternative messaging apps over the default ones provided on their devices, such as Textra, Chomp, EvolveSMS, or even the SMS feature in Facebook Messenger.

For root users who have actively removed bloatware, the default SMS application might have been disabled. It’s worth noting that the default SMS app typically has the capability to set the SMSC number, which is not usually the case with third-party messaging apps. This discrepancy is due to the default app being a /system app with privileges to modify the SMSC, unlike third-party apps.

If this reflects your situation, try these steps:

How to set SMSC in the default SMS app.
  1. Navigate to Settings > Apps and locate your device’s stock SMS app (the one that came pre-installed).
  2. Open it to make sure it isn’t disabled; enable it if needed.
  3. Open the SMS app and look for the SMSC setting. On my device, this was found under Settings > SMS settings > SMS service center.
  4. Enter your SMSC, save the settings, and try sending a text message.

If your text message sends successfully, the issue is resolved! Feel free to revert to your preferred SMS app, but refrain from disabling the default SMS app, as third-party apps often depend on its configurations.

Solution 3: Resetting the SMSC in Another Phone

If the above solutions have not worked for you, some users have found success by configuring the SMSC in a different phone and then returning the SIM to the original device.

  1. Remove the SIM card from your device and insert it into an alternative phone, even an old Nokia will suffice.
  2. In the other phone, locate the SMS / SMSC settings and set them correctly. Remember, SMSC settings are saved to the SIM card itself, not the phone, so the correct configuration will carry over when you transfer the SIM back to your initial device.

One internet user reported that this method did not work until implementing an additional step:

“I placed my SIM card in an old Nokia 6120 C, and this time I altered the SMS Configuration. I changed the title from ‘Pusat Pesan SMS’ to ‘Message Centre.’ Only then did it succeed.”


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.