Help me prove T-Mobile wrong
May 5, 2008 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Can you send an email from your Nokia phone using your T-Mobile service?

After ages of frustration, I'm coming to you all to see if I'm nuts.

Some time in the last couple of months I lost a feature on my Nokia 6101, which uses T-Mobile. In short, I used to be able to go to Messages, choose Create Message, choose "Text message," compose the text of the message, and hit Send, after which I would see five items: "Recently used," "To phone number," "To e-mail address," "To many," and "Via sending profile."

Now, however, "To e-mail address" is missing. It simply isn't there. Resetting the phone to factory defaults does not restore it. No amount of fiddling with the settings restores it.

The last T-Mobile person I spoke to as good as called me a liar. She said that the phone has never had that feature, that it couldn't have had that feature, and that there's no way to enable that feature.

But I know it's had that feature because I've used it hundreds of times. I know it, no matter how much the awful, unhelpful people at T-Mobile want to insinuate that I'm making it up. I'm positive it was there—that's how I know it's missing!

In fact, you can find "To email address" in the user manual (page 39). Of course, T-Mobile, like other providers can customize their phones. But if they do delete that feature on shipping phones now, they didn't delete it when I got my phone a couple of years ago.

Now, I don't know why the menu would have disappeared, except that I recently changed my calling plan and added another phone onto the account. There may have been a SIM update push at some point, but I don't know how far back the last one was. The six reps at T-Mobile that I talked to claim that none of these things would make that menu disappear.

So, what I'm looking for here: Do you currently have that "To email address" menu on your Nokia phone (preferably a 6101)? Did you used to have it? Did you lose it? Can you explain?

I realize that the role of "outraged consumer" is a cliché by now. Sorry about that. I'm not the doormat/roll-over-me type. Unfortunately, even if you pay a company hundreds of dollars a month they still have you over the barrel a thousand different ways. The only leverage I have here is community evidence.

Also, I know there are a couple of other ways to send email with the phone, like putting the email address, subject line, and a # sign in the body of the text--but who in the world is going to do that every time? The inconvenience destroys the utility. The old way, the email addresses would show up in "Recently used" and I wouldn't have to retype them time and again. You can also send messages by choosing "Picture message" instead of "Text message," but that includes stupid framing gifs in the body of the message which are annoying to all involved and sometimes mean the messages get marked as spam.
posted by Mo Nickels to Technology (11 answers total)
I have T-mobile, and the Nokia 6103 (close, but no cigar).
I do not have the "to email address" option. Sorry!

But I don't think you're crazy, if that helps.
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:53 AM on May 5, 2008

I used to have a T-Mobile 6101. I could send emails. On my new phone, a 6133 (the interface is really similar), I can't send regular text emails. Even if I create a contact with just an email address, that contact doesn't show up as an option when I try to send a text to a contact. I think it may be a T-Mobile change. HOWEVER, I *can* send picture messages to an email address.
Here's what I do: I choose to send a "picture" message. Then I choose to insert text. I don't attach an image or music at all. Then I add the subject and send. I can't guarantee this will work from a 6101 since mine is super broken so I can't try.
posted by fructose at 11:17 AM on May 5, 2008

Oh and you may need to create a contact that is just an email address and no phone number.
posted by fructose at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2008

I know this can be done with pure SMS based on prior experience; it's all in where you send the message, and how you format it.

Check here.

This may or may not work depending on your current plan; I haven't had to deal with that aspect of it.

Ask T-Mobile for assistance with their "SMS Email Gateway" if you run into a trouble.

I helped someone use their cheesy Motorola phone as a "text pager" for quite some time (while others made the move to RIM) using this method.
posted by aydeejones at 12:02 PM on May 5, 2008

Dr. Wu, the 6103 is close enough. Thanks for the data point. How long have you had your phone?

Fructose, on the 6101 were you sending your emails in the same way I'm asking about? Also, as I wrote, I know about the picture messages and the idea in your second comment doesn't work.

Aydeejones, as I wrote, I know there are those ways of sending SMS messages to email. But I am not typing out full email addresses on a phone keypad every time. That's anywhere from 20 to 90 button clicks per email address, not counting the message text itself (though I might try adding a few email addresses to the spelling dictionary to see if that speeds things up). Also, the Wikipedia entry has the T-Mobile method wrong.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:52 PM on May 5, 2008

I used to send them in the way you were talking about as far as I can remember. I haven't used that phone in months, though. The workaround I mentioned works on my phone, but as I mentioned, may not on yours. Good luck!
posted by fructose at 1:18 PM on May 5, 2008

Sorry, I was foolish and jumped on the opportunity to answer your question without reading it thoroughly.

Sounds like T-Mobile doesn't want you to have this feature precisely because it is valuable; they can definitely control what your phone is capable of to a certain extent.

The folks you talk to may be bound by policy to insist the feature doesn't exist, or they might just be dumb because you may have enjoyed the feature based on a fluke about which they are not aware.

It's kinda like getting free cable; back when I was a wee lad, we got free HBO for years, but we sure as hell didn't touch our cable package, never called for service outages, etc, because we didn't want anyone catching on.

The problem is that you didn't know this was something they would specifically block or see as a threat that must be neutralized. What change did you make to your plan?

I had T-Mobile for a long time and was looking at getting the newest BlackBerry 83xx model they have. It has WiFi, but in order to use it (at the time) you had to pay another $10 for T-Mobile's "hotspot" service.

I didn't want to use their hotspots; I wanted to use the built in WiFi within my own personal network! TS, as far as they're concerned. I was expected to subscribe to a plan in order to use a piece of hardware I was already supposedly paying for.

Where I work we have a sweet Avaya phone switch; it has awesome reporting capabilities...the code is all there, ready to be used. But you can't use it without shelling out another $5-12K. Sure, you might figure out a way to do it, which would also invalidate your entire maintenance contract and any terms of use set by Avaya.

T-Mobile stands to make a lot more money by having folks like you buy BlackBerries and data plans. You scrounged by this far, but it sounds like you're SOL, unfortunately, and are an ideal candidate for a mobile device that is designed with email in mind.
posted by aydeejones at 1:36 PM on May 5, 2008

On my (ancient) Nokia, I can send email with Messages -> Multimedia messages -> Create message -> message content -> Options -> Send to email
posted by harmfulray at 1:40 PM on May 5, 2008

Harmfulray, what model of Nokia is it?
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2008

posted by harmfulray at 7:16 PM on May 5, 2008

Dr. Wu, the 6103 is close enough. Thanks for the data point. How long have you had your phone?

I think I've had it about 8 months or so.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:11 AM on May 6, 2008

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