What happens when you send a text message to a landline telephone?

You accidentally sent a text to a landline. What does the recipient hear?

landline
Credit: Daniel Oines

A reader asks: 

“What happens when you send a text message to a landline telephone? Does their phone ring, does it show up on caller ID, or do they pick up and hear something like a dial-up modem?”

Most of the time, your message will just disappear into the ether—it won’t be delivered or received. However,some wireless and landline carriers support text-to-landline messaging. If this applies, your message will result in the recipient’s phone ringing and your message will be “read” aloud. Another reader writes:

“I got a call recently, and when I said ‘hello,’ an obviously digitized voice informed me I was getting a text message from a Virgin Mobile number (that I recognized as a friend’s), then read it aloud in a Siri-like voice. It was a little strange. I don’t know if other carriers do it or not, but it is a neat idea.” 

A Lifewire article confirms this:

“At Sprint, for example, just type a text message like normal on your cell phone and enter the 10-digit landline telephone number. If texting is included in your Sprint plan, the text-to-landline service is already available to you. Prior to delivering your first text-to-landline message with Sprint, you’ll get an opt-in text message informing you that your note will be converted into voice for a landline phone. After the text is sent and converted, the landline recipient’s phone will ring. When answered, your text message will be automatically read to the recipient by a computer’s voice.” 

For more on text messaging:

This tip was originally published on IDG Answers, a reader-powered help desk for answering tech questions. 

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