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Why your Text Messages are Not Delivering and How to Fix it

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Reasons Why Your Text Message Didn't Get Delivered

Text messages play an important role in our daily communications. The open rate of text messages is around 98% which makes it an important channel too for marketing and promotion. Now before we go ahead and start building castles in the air about how we can use it to maximize our reach, we need to know about what are the factors which impact the delivery of the SMS.

What is SMS Delivery?

There are many aspects of running a successful SMS marketing campaign like complying with legal rules and regulations, growing a healthy and engaged subscriber list, and using different strategies to personalize your text messages.

One other aspect that plays a major role is SMS delivery or which in other words, means if the text is reaching your target customer. The reason it becomes important is that if the messages aren’t delivered, your target customer won’t be able to see them. Let’s get to know more about it.

SMS delivery or SMS deliverability gives us a measure of how many messages were sent to intended recipients or in other words, it gives a percentage of how many messages were delivered successfully.

It is calculated as:

SMS Delivery = Number of Messages Delivered / Number of Messages Sent

Here, we must know that 100% delivery is likely unachievable as text messages can be lost regardless of its due to technical failures or other reasons. So, we can aim to ballpark it at around 98%.

What are SMS Delivery Reports?

An SMS delivery report is a notification that you get from the SMCS (Short Message Service Centre) which tells you that your message was sent to the intended recipient. In other words, it shows you the status of the message that you submitted to the carrier.

Contrary to popular belief, text delivery reports do not actually mean that a text message was successfully delivered to the recipient. Instead, it confirms that the message was sent successfully from the device.

After you send the message, it goes to the SMCS. The server stores the message until it attempts to deliver it. After that, the message either gets delivered to the recipient or it fails.

Once the carrier SMCS receives the message, there can be many reasons why its delivery to the recipient can fail. Some of the reasons include:

  • Using the wrong type of number (long vs short code, for example) to send prohibited message types.

  • The volume of messages sent.

  • The content of your messages.

  • The timing of your messages, and more.

These reasons also vary from carrier to carrier which makes it more complex to assure how a message gets delivered in a global environment.

Why are delivery reports important?

The delivery reports give you valuable data to strategize your future marketing efforts. If something isn’t working, you need to know what’s broken.

Some of the benefits of the delivery reports are mentioned below:

  • Delivery reports confirm that your messages have been sent.

  • They help you identify any issues with the delivery process such as network congestion or technical errors.

  • SMS delivery reports help you manage your SMS platform subscription.

Types of SMS Delivery Reports

There are various types of SMS delivery reports, and the type you receive may depend on your network carrier or mobile device brand.

However, the most commonly seen delivery reports are as below:

  • Successful Delivery Report: This type of report indicates that your text message has been successfully sent and received by the intended recipient through the SMSC.

  • Failed Delivery Report: If your text message is not transmitted to the SMSC or delivered to the recipient, this report will indicate that the delivery was unsuccessful.

  • Pending Delivery Report: This report shows that your text message has been transmitted to the SMSC but has not yet been delivered to the intended recipient.

  • Partial Delivery Report: This type of report indicates that only a portion of your text message has been delivered to the recipient, which may occur if the message is too long and gets truncated in the middle.

  • Account Full Report: This report shows that your text message could not be sent because your account does not have enough credit or is full.

  • Message Blocked Report: If your text message is considered spam by the network carrier, this report will indicate that the message was not transmitted to the SMSC.

  • Invalid Destination Address: This type of report indicates that your text message was not sent to the SMSC because the destination address is invalid.

Different types of delivery statuses

SMS delivery statuses are usually categorized into 5 different labels in the delivery reports such as:

  • With carrier: This indicates that the message was delivered to the carrier, but they have yet to return a response.

  • Successfully delivered: This status means that the message has been delivered to the recipient.

  • Rejected (Soft Bounce): This indicates that the message hasn’t been delivered yet because of a temporary error such as the phone being away from the cell coverage or it is switched off but the number is still active.

  • Rejected (Hard Bounce): This status means that the recipient's number is invalid or the number is no longer available.

  • Opted out: This status means that the recipient has opted out after receiving your SMS.

Reasons for not delivering text messages

When you call someone and if their phone is turned off, you know it right away butthe same is not the story with SMS.

When you see the ‘failed to deliver’ right next to your text message it surely becomes frustrating but not knowing the reason behind it can boost the frustration even more.

Let's look at some of the reasons why texts don’t get delivered sometimes so that the next time you see that sign again, you are a little less anxious.

01. The recipient opted out of messages

Most platforms offering SMS services have a built-in system for recipients to opt out of messages.

02. The recipient blocked your phone number

Although uncommon, this happens. Your message won't be delivered if the receiver prevents your phone number from calling them. This is a possible cause if you don't see a "Delivered" or "Read" signal.

03. The message contained illegal content

The receiving carrier may prohibit messages you send if they contain illegal content, such as allusions to drugs, adult material, or other criminal conduct.

04. Network problems with the recipient’s carrier

While that's not a common issue, sometimes there are problems with the recipient’s carrier network that can halt delivery.

05. Recipient reported your message to their carrier

There is a possibility that a receiver reported your message to their carrier if you still had an undeliverable message. Additionally, it's conceivable that their carrier preemptively rejected your communication after they reported a message that appeared to be quite similar to the one you sent.

06. The recipient's phone is switched off

If you get a busy signal while calling, you try again later. But when the SMS doesn’t get delivered on the first try, it is automatically re-sent at certain intervals. When the phone is available again, the message gets delivered.

07. The number is roaming (abroad)

If you're trying to send SMS messages to a number that is currently not in the home country often causes problems, and frequently, delivery to numbers that are roaming is not guaranteed.

08. Local regulations restrict SMS text messages

In some countries, local regulations restrict sending SMS messages to prevent spam. For example in some countries, messages notated as marketing can be sent only during workdays from 8 am to 8:30 pm.

09. Conflicting SMS applications

On the phone, several programs can occasionally receive SMS messages. The applications are at odds with one another, making it impossible for the message to be delivered to any of them, which results in a failed message. As a result, the messages cannot be delivered.

10. SMS message delivery may be subject to time restriction

Some nations place limitations on the times that marketing messages with alphanumeric sender IDs can be delivered in order to prevent customers from being inundated with them at inappropriate times.

For instance, in France, you are only allowed to send promotional messages between the hours of 8:00 am and 10:00 pm.

11. “Receive SMS Messages” Turned Off in Phone Settings

It's possible that the person to whom you are sending messages has disabled SMS reception on their phone.

12. You’re texting a landline

Landlines don’t support messaging (unless they use Falkon SMS to text enable their landlines) and are limited to calls only. If you’re texting a landline, your message is most likely not getting delivered.

Check out our Falkon SMS to make your business reach out to the masses seamlessly or book a tour.

How to improve text message deliverability?

It feels frustrating when you don’t have things in your control, right?

Here in SMS delivery too, there isn’t much that you have under our control. But still, there are things you can do to make sure that the probability of delivery increases.

01. Choose a business text messaging provider

The first step in ensuring that your company or organization receives quality text message delivery is to select a business text messaging provider.

Falkon SMS is one of many excellent corporate texting services available today. 

02. Improve your message quality

You should check the quality of your message after you have verified your phone number and checked out your contacts.

Sending more substantive business SMS will reduce the likelihood that recipients may block your number.

03. Vet your contact list through a verification service

Some of the numbers your company gathers will eventually become inactive. It will also come to light that some persons provided inaccurate numbers.

This is why you should use a phone verification service to check your contact list. Providers of phone verification can process a list of numbers for you.

04. Verify your SMS number with a carrier to ensure delivery

Through the registration service provided by Falkon SMS, you can sign up for A2P on a toll-free number or 10DLC phone number.


The non-delivery of your SMS message can be caused by various factors, and as a sender, you may not have much control over it. However, there are a few actions you can take to increase the chances of your text reaching the intended recipient.

One step you can take is to verify that you have entered the correct country codes before the phone numbers. Moreover, it's advisable to send marketing text messages only during the allowed time slot designated by your country's regulations.

With these tips, you can increase your understanding of the delivery issues that affect SMS messages and potentially prevent future failed deliveries.

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