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Sending a text is a fast and easy way to reach out to someone without talking on the phone. Not all of the texts that you send will go through though as some will claim that the service isn’t available. No matter what provider you have, you will get these messages for a few reasons.

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Sorry This Service is Not Available: Causes & Fixes

Many people today rely on texting so much more than phone calls that they can’t even recall the last time they talked to someone over their cell phones. Texting lets you send quick messages that reach someone fast.

You can share happy or sad news and send funny photos and emojis as well as short videos and moving clips.

If you get a “Sorry, This Service is Not Available” message when you send a text, the odds are good that it happens for a simple reason you can fix.

1. Airplane Mode

One of the top reasons you get this message is that you turned on Airplane Mode. Airplane Mode shuts off some of the features and settings you usually use.

It can prevent text messages and phone calls from reaching you and keep you from going online.

You might use Airplane Mode when you’re on a flight and heading off on a fun vacation or when you’re home and want some quiet time.

Check the top of your home screen. If you see a small image of an airplane, you turned on this mode. To turn it off, bring down your notification bar and click on the Airplane Mode icon.

2. Out of Service Number

No one would blame you for feeling frustrated if you get this message after sending a text to a number you saved on your phone. Before you spend a lot of time checking the settings on your phone, try calling the number. There’s always a chance that the number is no longer in service.

This can happen when the owner of the number does not pay their bill. The carrier will give them a certain amount of time to pay their past-due balance and keep their number.

Carriers will usually take the number out of service if it’s clear the customer will not pay the bill. Sending a text to a number that is not in service may lead to this message popping up on your phone.

3. No Signal

Depending on how old you are, you might remember choosing a phone provider based on their network coverage. These stores often had huge maps that let you see where you would get the most coverage and areas that lacked coverage.

Though most providers today offer nationwide coverage, you may still come across some spots with no coverage.

Your phone cannot send text messages when you don’t have a good signal. You’ll also have a hard time going online or making phone calls. Try moving to a new spot to see if you can improve your signal, or wait until you’re in an area with better reception.

4. Cellular Outage

When you have a problem sending text messages, check for any current cellular or network outages. Using one of the other features on your phone is a good way to test your network.

Call one of the contacts saved in your phone or dial a random number like your water company and see if the call goes through.

You may also want to try texting a different number or using an app to send a message. During network outages, you cannot use any features or apps that run on the network. Waiting until the network comes back is the only thing you can do.

5. Wrong Number

Whether you make someone or send them a text message, there’s always a chance that you entered the wrong number. If you get the Sorry This Service is Not Available message, you need to verify that you sent the text to the right number. You might try to text a number that does not exist and is not in service.

The message will bounce back because it has nowhere to go. Not only do you need to check the phone number, but you also need to verify that the area code is correct. Every region in the United States has a different three-digit area code.

6. Missing Area Code

One of the nice things about modern cell phones is that you can usually call people in your area without using their area code. This is because your phone finds your region and uses its associated area code. Many phones require an area code when you send a text message though.

Even if you can call someone without using it, the chances are good that you cannot text them. You can’t even send texts if you have them saved as a contact in your phone. Changing the number to include the area code can fix the problem.

AdobeStock_298424572 A young employee is looking for business information using a mobile phone on a wooden table to plan a new project for the boss at the office.

7. MMS Disabled

While texts contain letters, numbers, and possibly emojis, an MMS is a multimedia message that can include a GIF, photo, or video. If you only have a problem when you attempt to send these messages, see if you disabled MMS in the past.

Open your Text Message Settings and switch the button from disabled to enabled. You may need to contact your carrier and ask them to turn on this feature.

Carriers often disable this feature on phones owned by customers who do not have a data plan. If you have this problem and would like an in-depth list of other reasons, check out our article here.

8. Blocked Number

You can block any number that calls you for any reason. Instead of dealing with telemarketers who call you several times a day, block the number and prevent them from reaching out. You might get a message that your text service isn’t available because the person you sent it to blocked you.

As an iPhone user, check for the color between you and the other number. When the user blocks you, their number will appear green.

Make sure you check your own blocked list, too. There’s always a chance that you accidentally blocked one of your contacts.

If you find that blocked numbers can still contact you, check out our article here. 

9. Illegal Content

Mass texting allows users to send the same message to tons of people at the same time. The FTC proposed a bill to prevent others from mass texting, but you may still be the victim of them. Some phone providers now block illegal content, which can include these messages.

Though not as common as some of the other reasons, your text might come back to you because the user’s provider viewed the text as SPAM or thought it contained illegal content. This commonly happens when people use apps to block SPAM messages.

10. Locked Phone

When you sign up for a new cell phone plan, you sign a contract that locks your phone to a specific network. Even if you choose a prepaid phone, you usually need to remain with the provider for six months or longer before you can take your phone to a new carrier.

If you recently changed carriers and have a new number, your old carrier may keep your phone locked to their network and stop you from texting or making calls.

Unlocking your old phone or buying a new phone is the only way to get your text service back.


T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and other carriers send messages to your phone informing you about the issues and problems you face. Learning what those messages mean is a good way to solve those problems.

The message that says Sorry This Service is Not Available means that your text cannot go through for reasons like sending it to a wrong number or having your phone set to Airplane Mode.