Why does my phone SMS me when I check voice mail?
August 15, 2008 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Why does my cell phone send me a text message whenever I retrieve my voice mail?

I'm a little new to cell phone land. I've had a RAZR v3 with Cingular/AT&T for maybe a year but I've only lived someplace where it worked for the past few weeks so I'm still learning some things.

Whenever I check my voice mail (I think, it may only be when I save or delete a voicemail) I get an SMS at the same time, but it's not from anyone or it seems to be from my phone. It looks like this [pic1, pic2] and there's no text to the message, just that.

I don't care terribly, but it's a little disconcerting to be checking voice mail and having the phone buzzing in my hand, so if this is turn-offable, I'd love to be able to do that. Can someone explain what is going on here? My apologies in advance if this is a total "duh" question that you are embarassed for me not knowing.
posted by jessamyn to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=RAZR+at%26t+text+message+voicemail&btnG=Search has many results, such as "you need to program your voicemail number in" to "you need new firmware".
posted by SirStan at 3:49 PM on August 15, 2008

From: http://www.xlr8.us/hofo/

It sounds like AT&T usually sets automatic network selection... but maybe unbranded phones dont?

# I enabled advanced network menus, but manual network selection doesn't show up. How do I enable it? Adjust seem 0032, offset 02, bit 1. Unfortunately, this will likely cause your voicemail indicator to act up and you will receive text messages from ^@ and _@ whenever you get a voicemail or check it.

# I keep getting wierd text messages from ^@ and _@ and/or my voicemail indicator is always on. How do I fix this? Adjust seem 0032, offset 02, bit 1. Unfortunately, this will likely cause you to lose manual network selection.
posted by SirStan at 3:52 PM on August 15, 2008

Did you previously have an iPhone? This is exactly what happens when your phone has an iPhone plan, but you are using a different phone. I think it is related to how visual voicemail works. You might want to call AT&T and make sure that there's nothing strange going on with your account.
posted by helios at 3:56 PM on August 15, 2008

Best answer: This page Modding the moto tells you how to disable the ^@ voicemail indicator. Cheers.
posted by SirStan at 4:06 PM on August 15, 2008

I have service through AT&T and use the Nokia 3230 that I bought in China and it does a similar thing. My screen has a 'reel-to-reel' icon that indicates I have received a new voice mail. When I am retrieving a voice mail an envelope will appear as if I received a text message. Regardless of whether I delete or save the voice mail, both of the indicators disappear. Mine has always been more of a hiccup that always cleans up after itself; nothing new ever appears in my inbox.

So, perhaps it is an AT&T with specific issue? Maybe a receipt to the phone that the complete message was sent and your phone doesn't know what to do with it? FYI, my phone is set to select the network automatically.
posted by geekyguy at 4:27 PM on August 15, 2008

I had that thing for a while on a unlocked Razor with AT&T. When I got a new phone it stopped. Looked exactly like yours, including the symbols. So weird.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:28 PM on August 15, 2008

Best answer: I used to have an unlocked, unbranded V3x on the T-Mobile network, and got the same thing. It drove me absolutely batshit. Apparently this is pretty common with phones that come from HK, but I'm not sure in your case.

I had to do a SEEM edit, and frankly it was a huge pain in the ass - it's easier to put up with the message and go insane, especially considering you can brick your phone. But if you're feeling brave, the instructions I followed were pretty similar to this, though that was for my phone. You might want to glance around on Howard Forums with your information for more leads.

Your carrier has nothing to do with it, it's how the phone translates getting a voice mail and then removing the icon (unless you bought the phone straight from AT&T, in which case, bring it to their attention).

Alternatively, it might be as simple as storing your voice mail number. If you hit 1, does it take you to your voice mail box? If not, try setting it up - I think it's Main Menu -> Messaging -> Options -> Voicemail Setup. You might also have to add a new entry to your address book, call it "Voicemail", and assign your number to it.
posted by sephira at 5:21 PM on August 15, 2008

shot in the dark: does the voicemail system have any kind of "notify" settings that can be shut off?
posted by rmd1023 at 6:19 PM on August 15, 2008

Best answer: As I understand it, this is how the "message waiting" indicator is always controlled on cellphones — it uses the same mechanism as SMS. What's supposed to happen is your phone recognizes this as a status message and updates its indicator. But the phone can be set to interpret those messages or not, and for some reason, third-party unlocked phones are often sold in the "not" state.
posted by hattifattener at 7:37 PM on August 15, 2008

Not an answer, just another data point, but I use an unlocked Razr on AT&T and I've never seen this.

Does the problem persist if you turn the phone off and pull the battery out for a minute? I understand that's the first troubleshooting step for most cell phone weirdness, and what usually resolves my phone's eccentricities.
posted by churl at 6:47 AM on August 16, 2008

When I was with Cingular, before they merged with AT&T, I had the same issue with the little tower symbol. I got my phone from the Radio Shack website, it ended up being unlocked and intended for sale in Africa (WTF Radio Shack?). They told me at the store that there was nothing they could do about it, that it had to do with the unlocked phone vs. network protocols (like what hattifattener is talking about), which was too bad cause it was the only thing I didn't like about that phone. Pretty sure it's a PITA SEEM edit or just get used to it.
posted by Who_Am_I at 7:46 AM on August 16, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, this has helped me narrow down the problem. The detail that I omitted to mention [and in fact totally forgot] was that I modded the phone, with help from Howard's Forums, when I first got it to remove all the branded cingular crap. I replaced the Cingular logos with beedogs. Anyhow, it looks like in doing this I flipped some switch that makes the "remove voicemail icon" appear as this dumb logo [and as an SMS] instead of just making the image go away. This will give me enough to go on to figure out how to fix it, and at some level knowing why it's happening is the biggest deal anyhow. Thanks for everyone's help.
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 AM on August 16, 2008

I am sorry that I cannot answer your question, but I cannot stop myself from posting that I am a little in love with you for replacing your Cingular logos with beedogs. Beedogs! It is a cruel, cruel world where any such modding could result in something bad.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:06 PM on August 16, 2008

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