Why can't I send a text to Canada?
July 25, 2009 11:38 PM   Subscribe

Why won't this text message go through? (Australian to Canadian phone.)

I have an Australian cell phone (Vodafone prepay.) I have been trying to text my mum in Canada. She has a Virgin prepay cellphone and her number is 519615XXXX. I have tried texting +1519615XXXX. I have also tried 00111519615XXXX. I keep getting failed message alerts.

I have been able to RECEIVE a text from my mum, but I can't reply. I can successfully text friends in the UK and in New Zealand.

I can call the number, just not text it.

I asked for help at a Vodafone store and they weren't able to help me.

Does anyone know why my texts are not going through and if there is any solution?

Would appreciate any ideas, thanks!!
posted by Flying Squirrel to Technology (8 answers total)
Other questions I would ask: Can your mother receive texts from other international numbers, say a friend of yours or one of your friends in the UK/NZ? This is to see if the problem is with your phone or hers. If she can't receive international (how about a regular SMS from a local user in Canada?) SMS, the problem is probably with her provider and she will need to call them.

Second, did your mom move (also called "port") her number from another mobile provider to Virgin prepaid? Wireless number portability can cause problems with inbound text messages. My wife had the same problem receiving SMSes from T-Mobile users, but once I called our provider they were able to fix something in the number portability database that allowed SMSes to go through.
posted by fireoyster at 12:23 AM on July 26, 2009

Why not call Vodafone customer care? The number's 1555 from your mobile or 1300 650410 from a landline.
posted by Lolie at 12:49 AM on July 26, 2009

Are phone plans in Canada similar to the US, where the receiver pays for incoming text messages? Perhaps her plan doesn't allow incoming international texts?

(As an aside, I never knew Canada and the US both share the +1 country code. That seems weird, but several websites confirm it)
posted by Diag at 5:31 AM on July 26, 2009

A friend of mine from Canada is able to text me in Poland, but I am unable to text him back. His carrier just won't accept texts from anywhere outside Canada but the US.
posted by jedrek at 6:46 AM on July 26, 2009

Are phone plans in Canada similar to the US, where the receiver pays for incoming text messages?

You learn something every day. That's definitely not a possibility which would occur to most Australians - we don't pay for incoming anything on our phone services.
posted by Lolie at 9:17 AM on July 26, 2009

Jedrek, which carrier does your Canadian friend use? Virgin Mobile Canada is an MVNO which, IIRC, uses the Bell Mobility network. If your friend also uses Bell Mobility or one of the MVNOs it serves, that might explain the problem.

Flying Squirrel: I sent you a mefimail with a debugging suggestion for this problem.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 9:39 AM on July 26, 2009

In my own experiences with this kind of problem (different countries), the receiving carrier is always at fault, because they're blocking or otherwise disabling at least some int'l messages from being delivered.

I have some friends I simply cannot text if I type in their number, but I can if I use their email-to-text address. I even have to remember to change it when "replying", which is a pain and has led to more than a few "But I answered that!" exchanges.
posted by rokusan at 1:14 PM on July 26, 2009

Response by poster: I spent about half an hour (most of it on hold or talking to 'Lara') with Vodafone as they went through the tech-support checklist ("did you try turning your phone on and off?"). It does appear that the message is being delivered by Vodafone, just being blocked by Virgin.

I've sent an email to Virgin and asked them to call. I'm not sure why it wouldn't be able to go through but it does appear to be a block. Thanks for the suggestions so far!
posted by Flying Squirrel at 10:40 PM on July 26, 2009

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