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Mobile technology has come a long way over the years, and the protocols we use for it have grown as well. Originally, one needed to use large phones that were hard to transport in order to make calls that were not on a dedicated landline, and calling was the only thing people could do with this technology.

Nowadays, texting has become a popular way to send short messages to either people or groups, especially when it isn’t necessary to have a long conversation with them verbally. Part of how we are able to send such messages involves an SMSC number.

Because they seem similar to phone numbers at first, some users might wonder just what SMSC numbers are. We’ll take you through the basics of what they are, how they work, whether they are different from phone numbers, and if all phones have access to them. Later, we’ll discuss how you can check these numbers across different mobile platforms, and how you might change them if necessary.

What Is an SMSC Number?

The SMSC number is part of a mobile network’s effort to help users send and receive textual data. It is a short message service center, and it may be easier to think of it as a sort of processing center for text messages before they are sent on to the mobile number that is meant to receive them.

While your text is in the SMSC, several things can happen to it, and it will depend on what operation you intend for the message to perform. It can also depend on how the mobile network you choose agrees to store its data.

Here is a general list of some of the main tasks associated with the SMSC:

1. It is a point at which the network receives messages from its wireless users. This would happen when your intent is to send a text to another number.

2. The SMSC acts as a forwarding point that sends the message along to its destination, although it may hold the message in the center for a brief window first.

3. Primarily, the SMSC wants to regulate the processes for sending messages between one number and another. For example, it may store the text message you send for a longer period if it determines that it cannot send it to the destination immediately. If the recipient’s phone is switched off, the SMSC may choose to go this route.

4. The message center is also responsible for managing the specific timestamps that each text message should have.

Along with all of this, the SMSC oversees which trajectories these messages are supposed to take. While going from one mobile number to another is one of the most common paths, there are others to consider.

The message center is responsible for making these determinations, and they are all based on which programs different senders and recipients are using.

It is not uncommon for the SMSC to send messages from an individual mobile number to a larger provider of content, for example. Additionally, some applications can send texts to mobile numbers, and it is the message center that must make sure that texts that originate from applications can reach the appropriate mobile platforms.

Is SMSC the Same As a Phone Number?

Yes and no. Typically, you’ll see that an SMSC number is in an international phone number format. Therefore, it won’t look the same as the numbers you are probably used to seeing when you make and receive calls.

The reason it needs to be an international number has to do with it being a sort of global title that can allow users from different regions of the world to send messages to each other. Although there could be some fees attached to this, the SMSC number is what helps to make it possible to have international communication via text.

Country codes, area codes, and operator codes that go to identity numbers are all parts of how the SMSC system can work so efficiently. By breaking down these processes into smaller increments, other networks outside of the ones you might use in your own country can send signals to different ones.

Once done, the SMSC knows where to route the message it is holding, and the whole process can complete.

Do All Phones Have an SMSC Number?

No, some phones don’t use SMSC numbers. However, they will still have similar protocols in place for sending, storing, routing, receiving, or accessing text messages sent between different users. In these cases, the phones will simply do all of this through different means, and they are usually determined by the carrier settings.

How Can I Check My Message Center Number on an iPhone?

Typically, you won’t find these numbers on iPhones, but there is a way to update the carrier settings we mentioned. This may be a necessary step if you are experiencing any issues with texting on the iPhone or its apps.

  1. Make sure your device is properly connected to a Wi-Fi network or your carrier’s signal.
  2. Go to the ‘Settings’ section of your device.
  3. From there, go to the ‘General’ submenu.
  4. Navigate to ‘About’.
  5. Once you’re here, you can check for any updates to the carrier settings.
  6. If any are available, you’ll see an option to perform the update.

How Do I Check My SMSC on Android?

Because it is part of how the network carrier operates, SMSC information for Android phones usually falls under the device’s own network settings.

The precise steps that you use in order to find your number may depend on the phone you have and which version of the software you are using. However, you should be able to follow some of the general guidelines below to get to your number, if applicable:

  1. Navigate to your Android’s ‘Settings’ menu.
  2. From there, go to the ‘About’ phone menu, or something that is titled in a similar manner.
  3. You should be able to access some information related to the ‘Network’ here, and it can show you the SMSC number that should be attached to your phone.

Can You Change the SMSC?

Although there might be ways to change your SMSC number, it is important to remember that it is a critical part of your phone’s ability to use the native SMS function.

It can also be tied to different apps you might use for the same purpose. Therefore, changing the SMSC number could cause issues with using text services if you are not sure how to set things up properly.

If you do need to set a different SMSC number for any reason, one of the easiest ways may be to use a dedicated app that can handle the bulk of the process for you. This could also save you from making mistakes in the setup process that would mess with your ability to send texts at all. However, it is best to use only trusted or certified apps for this process.

Otherwise, you can also do it from your phone’s dialing screen itself.

  1. Once you open the dialing screen, type in *#*#4636#*#*.
  2. Go to ‘Phone Information’ once it is available.
  3. Select the appropriate number to match the SIM card data you are trying to access.
  4. There should now be an SMSC Setting option that you can access.
  5. You can update or set a new number in this section yourself.
  6. Restart your device for the changes to take effect.


The short messaging center service is a waypoint through which different texts from different numbers can go in order to get to their destinations properly. Most messages are also stored here for a certain length of time.

The limit here varies, but some messages might be copied to a message center for reference later, particularly if they might be needed in certain legal matters pertaining to the senders or recipients.

In any case, the message center number ensures smooth texting operations across apps, platforms, and international service providers.