SMS Forwarding

More often than not I have at least two mobile devices with me, a business phone and a private phone. When abroad, the count usually goes up to three as I often use a local SIM card in my private phone for affordable Internet access on the device for e-mail, web browsing etc. In most cases, I have an automatic call forward from my other phones to this one so I don't have to keep them switched on or with me all the time. While this works quite nicely there is one problem with this approach: Arriving SMS messages are not forwarded and thus I usually do not see them coming in and only read them much later. Totally unacceptable for many people who use SMS for near real-time communication and I had some embarrassing moments due to this in the past myself. While there is an application that could take care of this that runs on Nokia S60 phones it has the disadvantage that the phone needs to be switched on for the forwarding to work. I haven't tried it myself but anyway, what I really want is the network to give me an SMS forwarding option (e.g. via (mobile) web based or USSD configuration). Where is this service? I am sure I am not the only one who would use such a service. And I think the business case is simple, one could argue that the SMS forwarding is the same as call forwarding, i.e. the forwarding party pays for the forwarding. In other words, one SMS, two billing events.

5 thoughts on “SMS Forwarding”

  1. I guess we in Malaysia (at least those using Maxis Mobile) are luckier 🙂

    I am using Message Plus service which offers these functions :
    1) Auto-reply (great for telling senders that I am travelling & can be reached on alternate line)
    2) Blacklisting
    3) Copying (=forwarding)

    All these can be configured based on A-party number.

    The only limitation is that it only works for sms originated from Maxis network, although the Auto-reply/Copying can be sent to any other mobile (including international numbers).

  2. Yes, yes, yes. I carry five mobiles and it is an absolute pain not being able to forward SMS.

    I completely agree that operators should enable the feature. As you say, the business case is a no brainer.

    Interesting to see Maxis is already providing the service. I’ve always found that Asian operators are way ahead of their European counterparts in providing value-added services.

  3. I think operators face technical problems that hindered them from forwarding SMS, since header information would be lost and would therefore need to be faked (original sender’s #, which again could cause legal problems).
    3GPP 23.040, section defines an alternative reply-address-element, which would allow forwarding including the original sender’s #, but I doubt a lot of handsets support that.
    For now the only feasible way of SMS forwarding is by eMail. By far not that comfortable as we would like it, but better than nothing.

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