Monday 3 July 2017

Can't Send SMS Error 38 - Vodafone UK

I had a OnePlus 2 mobile phone here in the UK.

I really liked it but my Vodafone SIM wouldn't let me send SMS texts out. Since it's a dual SIM phone, I tried an EE SIM in the other slot and this worked fine.

Sending texts didn't really bother me much and, at the time in June 2017, the OnePlus 5 was due to be released so I wasn't much bothered.

OnePlus 5 in my hands and everything swapped over I randomly tried to send an SMS a few days later.... it failed with the error message "Could not send text Error 38"..... hmm, not good. I telephoned Vodafone and spent about 45 minutes on the phone with the technical chap. We tried all-sorts including disabling and re-enabling SMS from the Vodafone system app but all to no-avail. Then I found an article about a similar problem on the OnePlus 3T forums and thought I'd give it a go....

There's a (not so) secret menu available for Android phones that's accessed by typing *#*#4636#*#* from your phone's dialer. As soon as you enter the last "*", a menu pops up labelled "Testing".

Secret Menu 1
Tap on the Phone Information selection and you'll get this menu:
Secret Menu 2

In my phone, the SMSC: field was blank. The message centre for Vodafone UK is +447785016005 which needs to be added here. To add it, you must put the number in double quotes and then tap on the UPDATE button, e.g. "+447785016005" - tap UPDATE.

Tapping REFRESH should append the ",145" at the end.

Sending a test SMS to myself succeeded!
P.S. don't go changing anything else or you'll probably do more damage unless you know what you're doing. Ironically, if you know what you're doing, you wouldn't be here anyway 😃
Hope this helps someone, Andy

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