67 responses to “Sprint, Shortcodes, SMS, Service, & Satan

  1. This is awesome. I love that you’re getting different answers from different people within the same company.

    • That is entertaining. With a company that large, it’s bound to happen. Sadly, it always inevitably leads to the exact same “come to the store/call the number/go back to the store/call the number” loop.

      I didn’t realize until it was posted what a behemoth this post is. Ha ha ha.

  2. In my everyday life i am a technical support manager for VZW.. And this really sounds like sprint has just dropped the ball maintaining the servers that handle their shortcodes. Shortcodes are the devil by the way avoid at all costs…

    • Well thanks for the insight! I never really understood the shortcodes, why not just have a 10 digit number?

      And I just find it funny that they called out Verizon. I mean, I know everyone uses the same towers & space is rented for antennas & all that jazz… but to throw you guys under the bus? That’s COLD. Ha ha ha.

  3. every find a solution to the 1051 shortcode thing? I have the same Sprint problem…

    • Actually, I haven’t moved any further with it. It’s obviously not a single-phone issue, and they tried to address it as such… or the other response was basically “there’s nothing we can do, it’s not our fault”.

      Are you in the Pittsburgh area (if you don’t mind my asking), or is this a nation-wide type thing?

      My suggestion is to try some of the email addresses above and see what they say for you. I’d love to know if you get anywhere with them!

  4. There’s been a spike in views for this post lately… if you’re out there & viewing… please share your problem/experience here, maybe we can direct sprint to this blog to show them how wide the problem is.

  5. The stats for this post are huge… it’s going up & up & up…

    Anyone else out there find any solutions, or run into any walls?

  6. SMS Message Error 1051 Fix???
    Spent more time on teh phone with Sprint Tech that I care to admit yesterday. The result, however, whas great. Finally got an answer. It appears that an “allowed list” was somehow created that would disallow any short code text not specifically listed. Having not created this disallow list, nothing was allowed. The tech support removed the allow list and now everything works great. They said you can also manage the list on your mysprint.com web login. Didn’t go there to look at it so cannot offfer any additional information. Maybe this will work for others. Let me know if it does. Makes the endless hours on the phone worth it.

    • Wow, thanks for the insight! I’ll be bringing this up with Sprint tech support via email when I have a minute. I can’t go through the endless “call support/go to the store/call this special support number/go back to the store/call this other number” cycle again.

      I’ve run into this error twice… once with the local radio station, and once with the scoreboard at Mellon Arena.

    • The link to Text Messaging options on the Sprint user page is no longer active. You need to call Sprint tech support (not from your mobile) and ask them to “unblock premium messaging”. Sprint is waving the cost of text messages for donations to Haiti if you use one of the 5 numbers listed in this Sprint press release:


  7. My problem solved — we had blocked all internet use on phones, as we have no data plan. Shortcodes were also blocked. Sprint support was able to remove the block. Works now.

    • Interesting… I do have a data plan though, and the shortcodes aren’t working. Seems like there are multiple issues within the Sprint network with the same end result/error.

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  9. I’ve been trying to donate to the Haiti relief effort per the numerous appeals on line and on television. Each time I try to text as indicated, it get the infamous message at the top of this page. After seeing one solution, I went to the my sprint page but found I had nothing in my block list and in fact, was set to “do not block any text message.” I’m not sure if this applies only to incoming messages or to outgoing messages as well. In my instance, it only seems to happen when I try to follow the instructions “…text ##### to %%%%%%” like the Haiti rescue efforts appeals. Text messages I send to my daughter seem to work fine, so….no resolution for me as yet. It’s kind of like setting your hair on fire and trying to put it out with a hammer.

    • Yeah, hits on this blog post have been skyrocketing, so I can only imagine that the problem is becoming more prevalent and frustrating. As you can see, even in contacting them, they have no idea what to say or do to correct the problem. It’s at once hilarious and maddening. Thanks for posting your frustrations! Maybe we’ll get a solid answer someday…?

    • Interestingly enough, a link to this was in my inbox this morning from Snopes… http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/charity/haiti.asp

      Claim: Messages provide information about contributions to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

      TRUE: You can donate $10 to Red Cross earthquake relief efforts in Haiti by texting the word ‘Haiti’ to 90999.

      FALSE: Phone companies have agreed to donate 25¢ towards relief efforts in Haiti every time a text message is forwarded.

      FALSE: Facebook has agreed to donate towards relief efforts in Haiti every time a certain message is posted as a member’s status.

      FALSE: UPS will ship any package under 50 lbs. to Haiti for free.

      FALSE: JetBlue and American Airlines are offering free air travel to Haiti for doctors and nurses.

      TRUE: T-Mobile is allowing its customers to phone Haiti without being charged for international long distance calls.

  10. I’m on the line right now with Sprint, he is “checking” my service. He says, he thinks it was blocked or a setting I had in the past. It’s resolved, just need to call and they will unblock the account, didn’t take long to get it handled. Even got my bill reduced by 10%.

  11. I work for bcode in the customer support division, we do sms ticketing with spr1nt and we have a few people that call in and report that our shortcode has expired, and it has taken a few attempts to work out what is going on, i talked to our engineers and they tell me that there is no code in our ticket machine that would generate that error. we have contacted spr1nt and our sms gateway provider and they report that the sms never makes it to our gateway server. by sheer luck we worked out what was going on, one of the staff at one site was suffering the same problem, so they called me and went through the motions of working out where the message was, it was on their handset not our machine, this led me to search sprints web-page and i located the page about activating/un-blocking short codes by dialing *2 and talk to the humanoid there to get the (OUR) short-code un-blocked. this user has now successfully sms’ing in the key word and all is ok… now when a customer calls in with this 1051 error we inform them that they need to get our shortcode unblocked by calling *2 from their handset to get this resolved..


    • Wow, excellent insight, beans. I appreciate your taking the time to not only explain the error, but to also to offer a solution.

      So… bcode is what’s behind the phones, making them work?

      Many people have hit this blog with searches, hopefully this will give them all a fix!

  12. This actually didn’t work for me. My premium texts are already unblocked and I am unable to get the auto texts from my bank nor am I able to text into them to check my bal. I’ve called sprint and they don’t know just as you’ve said. I followed the instructions on here about unblocking but there was nothing blocked and sprint told me that my premium texts were already unblocked. Is there any more advice?

  13. Same here. I have nothing blocked and no one can help. How frustrating.

  14. i have the same problem texting from palm pre to radio station.
    going to read the article posted by “beans” on feb 18 to see if it solves.

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  16. Okay, I get the same problem. Up until recently I could only use Twitter’s shortcode(40404). Now that doesn’t even work…But wait, I can get texts from twitter? Yet I can’t send them. This is a ridiculous problem. Sprint needs to do something about this. In my opinion its pure laziness. Sprint has never been one to jump on a problem of mine. The only time I get what I need/want from Sprint is if I demand to talk to someone important and threaten to cancel my service, in other words, I must be a jerk in order to get what I want out of Sprint. But that’s just not me, so I usually just deal with it.

    I live just north of Atlanta and I’ve gotten the same problem in Chattanooga, TN; so it isn’t just PA.

    • Yeah, it’s crazy… this post is read multiple times daily, and out of all the other things I blog about, the search terms for Sprint texting problems bring people here more than any other so far.

      Sprint does seem to have a flippant customer service attitude.

      • Search Terms for all days ending 2010-09-22 (Summarized)

        All Time
        Search Views
        msg 1051 121
        sonic allergen information 75
        weird science 75
        sprint msg 1051 62
        sprint message 1051 50
        totino’s pizza rolls 43
        star wars 42
        chili cook off flyers 38
        the last dragon 35
        9230 message failed 30
        http://www.kmartfeedback.com 30
        the levels of hell 30
        9 levels of hell 26
        sonic allergens 24
        star wars blu ray 24
        star wars a new hope 23
        willow the movie 21
        revenge of the nerds cast 21
        sprint short codes 21
        how to unblock short code texting 20
        msg 1051 sprint 20
        level of hell 18
        the short code you are attempting to use 16
        ella.jones@us.mcd.com 16
        sprint short code messaging 15
        yuengling bbq sauce 15
        sonic allergen 15
        message failed. shortcode may have expir 15
        7 levels of hell 14
        yuengling sauce 14
        willow movie 14
        dethlehem 14
        aixelsyd13.wordpress.com 14
        baby secret of the lost legend 13
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        yuengling lager sauce 12
        cheese tessellation 12
        sonic allergen info 12
        getting error shortcode texting may be b 11
        the experts movie 11
        the shortcode you are attempting to use 11
        giant eagle logo 11
        sonic allergy information 11
        sprint error code 1051 11
        the shortcode you are attempting to use 10
        the short code you are attempting to use 10

  17. Well I cleared out the setting in the web site and still not working.

    I called a nd they said that I had a whole group of standard 3rd party blocked shortcodes.

    They unblocked my bank, and I tested and it does now work.

    But I’m going to call back and see what else is blocked and have them unblock everything.

  18. I just got this code this moring when I texted my bank for my available balance. I googled the code and your blogs came up at the top of the results. I am very well versed in the Sprint run around. It was nice to get a laugh reading your emails, it felt like desa vu (sp?). I’m going to choose to ignore the problem for now. I don’t have any fight in me today. Was the cause of the short message code ever discovered?

    • Yeah, I believe it’s tied to each individual account. The texting gets blocked for some reason. It seems to be above the heads of some “read the screen” Sprint employees. This post gets more hits than anything else in my blog. You think they’d have the problem under control by now.

  19. I did end up sending an email to all of the addresses you have listed. The customer.servicenet@mail.sprint.com came back as undeliverable. I got only one response from Sarah Belbak. It just said to bring the phone to the store. I mentioned this blog and I borrowed your closing paragraph about automated responses. It was too funny & true to try and make it my own.

    I still think it’s odd how it just happened out of nowhere. I text my bank and radio station everyday. The suddenly it won’t work for the bank, but the radio station short code works fine.

  20. I have the same issue. You’d think after 2 bloody years they’d fix the problem if people have complained about the same thing over and over. Well it is one way to stop me buying unnecessary crap I suppose.

  21. If you text 9999 and in the message, type either “block” or “allow” then the shortcode you want to block or allow then send, things will happen.

  22. Well, could not get any of it to resolve my problem. Will update as the battle rages on towards victory.

  23. OK, I’ve got it figured out. I called Sprint again to check to make sure the block was off, and the rep told me that it was put in my notes, but checked to make sure and it was not. So the rep turned it off and while he was on the phone, I tried it and it worked. The rep also told me that by default, everyone is blocked automatically, so it does not matter what you asked for and what you did not. Alos, if you do turn of the block through Sprint and it still does not work, have them check on the settings again, not the notes, because I understand that it is easy to miss something to unblock it. Once turned off you can text 9999 then in the message type either “block” or “allow” space then the number you wish to take action on. If you use your online Sprint account and go into support then type “shortcode” in the search field and click search you will see a link that you may click to get information on all the tips and tricks of texting 9999. I hope this resolves many of your issues.

  24. I tried not roaming.
    I called sprint– now 4 times to confirm that no shortcodes are blocked.
    I texted “allow ##### (shortcode)” to 9999 and got a message saying it was allowed.
    still no.
    called sprint back and had them specifically allow that shortcode.
    turned off/on phone as requested.
    still no.
    sent another “allow” text, again got reply that it was allowed.
    still no.
    called back sprint, 2hours later, they are now closed.
    the shortcode used to work fine last year, but hasn’t in a while.

  25. ah-hah!
    i think i may have figured it out, but it doesn’t help us.
    it seems sprint may just be flat out blocking certain shortcodes in their system, including 97605. see this forum below towards the bottom


    “5. Jun 28, 2011 3:39 PM (in response to BUT22ERFLY)
    Unable to send premium SMS shortcode from my phone – error 1051

    One of the Sprint customer service representatives (Claudia) contacted me via pm requesting my Sprint number. She sent the number to a Sprint tech to review my messaging history. It turned out that certain short code numbers are either no longer functional with Sprint (66555) or that they have been disabled across Sprint for various reasons (97605). It turned out that some of the premium SMS short codes would in fact work. ”

    so this doesn’t help, but it does explain why all our dancing hasn’t worked.

    the company that runs that shortcode is


  26. and i just spoke with sprint myself and they confirm that shortcode is no longer being accepted

    • Thanks Frustrated, this post is a few years old… and I’m not sure of the shortcode status on my account right now. Amazingly though, this page is hit more than anything else on my blog, so it must be a continuing problem.

      In my case, the # that I was trying to text was working for everyone else in the city, so support for it could not have been dropped.

  27. My boss just came to me with the sprint msg 1051 today when he is trying to set up mobil banking with Bank of America….
    So the problem is still on going…

  28. Miss Missionary

     Oct 18, 2011 12:58:03 AM
    Error code 1051 still a problem. It worked on my Sanyo Zio phone, but got a Blackberry and nada!!!

  29. I just HAD to comment on this blog since it seems no one has in a while about the issue. I was blocked from entering a contest (the same error code you have above) for what now seems to be a one day issue. I just tried now and it magically worked.

    I wanted add this link since the other ones above don’t work anymore and it may be helpful for any new person who comes across it and their issue does not just magically fix itself as mine did. http://support.sprint.com/support/article/Block__restrict_or_allow_text_services_on_your_phone_online_via_My_Sprint/case-fk158645-20100930-171711

  30. Thanks AiXeLsyD13! I and my family have tried before to text shortcodes for different programs we were watching, and always ran into the perplexing Msg 1051. I’ve searched and searched and finally found your site, where I found instructions to contact Sprint via 9999. And the shortcode now works. What I don’t understand is why Sprint won’t simply tell us (it’s money-paying customers) how to use the 9999 feature, rather than being all secretive about it. I agree, Sprint = devil.

  31. oops, I spoke to soon. Even though I got a text from Sprint confirming that the shortcode is allowed, several attempts to text to the shortcode gets repeated “failed” messages! Ugh. I’m going to be calling Sprint because this is part of what I’m paying for.

  32. Hmm, ran into this problem for the first time (albeit I hardly ever use shortcodes). I’m using two phones, one is mine and one is someone elses. The phones are the exact same model with the exact same plan and bought around the same time…and well, pretty much just exactly the same in every aspect phone+plan+usage (they just have different area codes). Using the same shortcode for a promotion, on one phone it goes through fine and the other gets the 1051 error message immediately in response.

    Tried the “block text” link above and both accounts have the same settings which allow all texts. Trying 9999 – allow didn’t work.

    • Called *2 and they said it was blocked. I asked them to unblock it and now it works. They couldn’t give me a reason why it was blocked.

  33. Wow – I searched “error message 1051″ and found this post within the top few results and after reading all of this I’m comforted in my choice to leave sprint a couple years ago. Get a clue, Sprint! Tried a shortcode promo in a small company where I work and it worked fine for me (AT&T) and a sprint co-worker, but not my boss who is a sprint user, too. Tried the 9999 “allow” step, still not working. Who knows…but my boss won’t have the patience to call sprint and now I think we just won’t use it in our marketing. Shame. Was a cool idea…thanks sprint.

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  35. It appears as though I may have fixed this issue tonight. I simply chatted with sprint support, explained I was having trouble with shortcodes, gave the text and message number of the error message, and the agent simply reviewed and came back with “please try to send a text to a shortcode now,” and it worked!

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