Why do my SMS short codes get "Access Denied"?
June 29, 2007 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Why does my T-Mobile cell phone respond with "Access denied" when I send an SMS text message to short codes (such as 46645 for info from Google)?

Short codes were accessible before porting my number from T-Mobile to Cingular in February, and switching to a BlackBerry Pearl. Now no short codes work (but texting friends is fine). Google is the one I really miss - but I can't get *any* 5-digit SMS short codes to work.

Here’s the Google SMS troubleshooting guide. Not much help, but says recently ported numbers may not work immediately. (I ported 4 months ago.) Also that it doesn’t work with T-Mobile prepaid. (I’m not prepaid.) Is there something that T-Mobile might need to activate or change to make it work? Anyone know what that is?

T-Mobile tech support stopped helping, saying short codes are "third party" and not their responsibility. Blech. But get this: both techs I spoke with tested SMS Google on their own phones, with no problems. So they say maybe it's cuz I ported in from Cingular, and told me to find someone else who ported their number from Cingular, and see if that person can access short codes. If yes, they'll work on the issue more, otherwise I'm SOL.

What would it take for T-Mobile to “free up” my phone to receive SMS short code responses? Anyone had similar trouble? Anyone in a similar situation (ported from Cingular to T-Mobile) able to access short codes?

Thanks in advance!
posted by quinoa to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I brought my number from Cingular to T-Mobile (actually, I was an AT&T customer, and I made the change post-merger but before they were really fully integrated --- I have no idea if that would make a difference). Anyway, I don't have trouble using Google-SMS. I don't remember if I've used any other short codes.
posted by hattifattener at 10:57 AM on June 29, 2007

You should tell the technical support people that it is important that this works, and it works on other networks, and if they can't make it work you will go to a network that can.

I don't think it's possible for you to fix this yourself.
posted by aubilenon at 2:39 PM on June 29, 2007

If you can't get any SMS short code to work, odds are that it's disabled on your account. SMS short codes are frequently used for services that charge, e.g. being sent ring tones or games. The access denied message leads me to believe they didn't set something up properly on your account so the system thinks there is no way to bill you for these short code services if you decided to use them. They don't want to be stuck with a charge of someone voting for a fabulous American Idol winner. I'd guess that's why it's blocked on their pre-paid plans. Maybe someone put in a system code of a pre-paid txt messaging plan in their system instead of a post-paid contract txt plan?

Keep calm, be as polite as you can, but express how unhappy and unsatisfied you are. Let the person know you know it isn't their fault but you're very frustrated. Ask them if they could try removing the text message plan and adding it back on? Perhaps that would do the trick.

Definitely an issue with T-mobile though since no sms short codes work.
posted by Nerro at 3:47 PM on June 29, 2007

Also, do you have an internet plan enabled for your blackberry?
posted by Nerro at 3:48 PM on June 29, 2007

Thanks for the thoughts. I called T-Mobile (again) yesterday and they did some stuff that may fix it. I'll know by this afternoon whether what they did makes any difference.

Yes, Nerro, I do have an internet plan enabled. Do you think that could be impacting short codes?
posted by quinoa at 10:53 AM on June 30, 2007

No, a lot of the pay content ordered through short codes is delivered through the "internet" portion of the plans. If you have one, that shouldn't affect it.

Good luck, hopefully what T-mobile did will get it all worked out for you.
posted by Nerro at 5:20 PM on June 30, 2007


A few weeks after this post, I went into my local Tmobile store. Turns out the local sales people know a shitload more than the online support folks about Blackberrys and how they interact with Tmobile's services.

SInce I have a Tmobile Blackberry, and I subscribe to the data plan, it's on a different network than other phones, so texting to "short codes" doesn't work. It's not expected to.

Now why didn't the bozos at Tmobile know this?
posted by quinoa at 5:01 PM on November 1, 2007

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