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Text Message Error Codes: What Do They Mean?

image of detector of invalid text message

Text messages play a crucial role in facilitating personal and business communication. Text message errors can hamper communication effectiveness by disrupting the flow of information. This adversely affects the user experience, leading to missed opportunities.

Hence, text message error codes are important. The better you know the problem, the sooner you fix it and get back to your customers. Keeping this in mind, understanding the nature of SMS errors and their impact is paramount to using text messages for communication.

In this blog, we will explore what is a text message error, its types, the error codes a person can get, and how to tell if an error code is fake.

What is a Text Message Error?

The failure to deliver a message to a recipient triggers a text message error to the sender. This text message error will contain a code that specifies the issue that prevented the message from reaching the recipient. The error codes are helpful in investigating the underlying problem.

Unique error codes are usually maintained by various providers for various messaging issues. Yet, there are common text message error codes that are standardized and recognized globally.

Types of Text Message Errors

The error codes provided here represent generic issues that occur in SMS messaging. The codes are usually standardized across various SMS gateways to ensure a common understanding of simple and basic SMS messaging issues across different platforms.

Basic types of SMS message errors are standardized, although, the numerical designations and responses to the errors could vary with each provider. Each SMS provider might:

  • Vary their definition of error conditions based on their interpretation and infrastructure

  • Provide different levels of detail in the error reports

  • Provide different methods of error handling to resolve the issue

A generalized differentiation of the text message errors is shown below:

Delivery errors

  • 006 or 0061 (Message Expired)

  • 20 (Network Error)

  • 80 (Destination Temporarily Unavailable)

Validation errors

  • 10 (Invalid Message)

  • 40 (Invalid Source Number)

  • 50 (Invalid Destination Number)

Permanent delivery barriers

  • 70 (Destination Permanently Unavailable)

Technical errors

  • 300 (Invalid Destination)

  • 301 (Network Timeout)

  • 302 (Routing Error)

Format errors

  • 400 (Invalid Number Format)

  • 401 (Encoding Error)

  • 402 (Empty Message)

Compliance error

  • 30 (Spam Detected)

  • 500 (Unauthorized Sender ID)

  • 501 (Spam Detected)

  • 502 (Opt-out Violation)

Carrier errors

  • 600 (Carrier Rejection)

  • 601 (Content Blocked)

  • 602 (Carrier Network Issue)

Text Message Error Codes

When a message fails to deliver, the sender will receive a delivery report detailing the reason behind the failure. Similarly, in other instances, there could be various factors that contribute to the failure of the message, but the sender doesn’t receive a delivery report. Below are the most common SMS message error codes and the issues they represent:

Error Code



006 or 61

Message Expired

This occurs because the recipient’s phone is off or out of the service area for too long


Invalid Message

This occurs when the content of the SMS does not adhere to the format or content requirements. Usually, it is because of unsupported characters or incorrect encoding


Network Error

This occurs when there is a failure in the network, which prevents the message from being delivered because of congestion or a disruption in service


Spam Detected

This occurs when the message is flagged as spam by the network or recipient’s carrier, due to the nature of the content or frequency of sending


Invalid Source Number

This occurs when the sender’s number is incorrect, not recognized, or is not allowed to send messages


Invalid Destination Number

This occurs when the recipient’s number is incorrect, inactive, or blocked, which prevents delivery


Destination Permanently Unavailable

This occurs when the recipient number is no longer in service


Destination Temporarily Unavailable

This occurs when the recipient’s device may be temporarily unreachable, switched off, or out of the coverage area


Invalid Destination

This occurs when the destination number is blocked or deactivated


Network Timeout

This occurs when the SMS does not reach the recipient due to a network timeout


Routing Error

This occurs when the message cannot be routed to the specified number


Invalid Number Format

This occurs when the phone number is formatted incorrectly


Encoding Error

This occurs when the SMS contains characters that are not supported by the network or the recipient’s device


Empty Message

This occurs when the SMS does not contain any text or characters


Unauthorized Sender ID

This occurs when the sender ID used is not approved for use in the destination country or network


Spam Detected

This occurs when the message content violates anti-spam regulations


Opt-Out Violation

This occurs when we send an SMS to a number that has opted out of receiving messages


Carrier Rejection

This occurs when the carrier has blocked the message based on content or sender policies


Content Blocked

This occurs when a specific message content has been flagged and blocked by the carrier.


Carrier Network Issue

This occurs when there is an issue on the carrier’s network preventing message delivery

How to Tell if an Error Message is Fake?

With the volume of error text messages coming every day, it is easy to get scammed. People must be cautious of the message they receive and be wary of the different aspects of the message they can examine. Keep an eye out for the following in the messages:

Spelling or grammatical mistakes

Legitimate error text messages will very rarely have spelling or grammatical. A spelling or grammatical mistake usually means it is a fake message.

Check the source

Check the source of the message. If it is from an unknown source, the message is likely fake. Any message from an official domain will have proper identification. There could be links as well in the messages of unknown origin and they must be avoided.

Click on links or believe messages only from trusted sources that identify themselves well.

The tone of the message

Check the tone of the message. If it urges you or threatens you of consequences, it is likely that the message is fake. Legitimate companies have processes and would never threaten a customer. Creating a sense of urgency with dire consequences like data loss or legal action for non-compliance is a sign of fake error text messages.

Lookup error online

Before acting on any message, look at the error to check if someone else from the same provider faced this issue. There could be instructions given by the provider online to resolve the issue if many users faced the same issue.

Review instructions

Review the instructions given in the error text message before acting on any of the actions given. At times there might be instructions to download applications that might push malware into your system once downloaded.

Furthermore, error text messages rarely provide legitimate phone numbers.


Now that you are familiar with the common error codes and why they could occur, you can identify and resolve issues that will hinder your text message from reaching the designated recipient. The checklist above to identify fake error text messages should act as a guiding light to evade them.

Furthermore, it makes you capable of adjusting message content, verifying phone numbers and taking proactive steps to fix the error text message. This will ensure an efficient and uninterrupted flow of communication.

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1 Comment

6 days ago

Interesting read

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