Text to Landline Guide | What Happens If You Text A Landline
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
Business Messaging Strategist
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
Text to Landline phones on white background

Learn What Happens When You Text a Landline and How to Text Enable a Landline Phone

Ever wondered what happens when you text a landline phone number? Where does the text go? This is a problem for businesses.

If you don’t have a text-enabled landline, then there’s no way for customers to text you.

Sure, you could just advise them to text your personal phone.

But customers don’t want that.

In fact, some 61% of customers think businesses should use the same phone number for calling and texting.


  • What happens when you send a text to a landline?
  • Why do you need to text enable your business landline phone?
  • How do text-to-landline services work?
  • How do you text enable a landline phone?

We answer each of these questions and more in the following guide. Read on for more.

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What is a Landline?

A landline (landline phone number) is a traditional phone number. Landlines are traditional phone lines that transmit through a physical cable, either buried or strung on telephone poles. Landlines used to be the only way a home or office could send and receive voice calls.

But this was before cellphones and satellite communications existed.

A landline telephone also refers to traditional phones with handsets, cradles, and cords. These phones still rely on hard-wired connections. This is why when someone says they’re “cutting the cord” they mean they’re ditching their landline for a mobile phone.

And obviously, your mobile cellphone number isn’t considered a landline number. This is because it transmits radio waves and has internet connectivity for voice calls.

VoIP vs Landlines - The Difference Between a Landline and VoIP Service

VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol. VoIP phones don’t transmit via twisted-pair copper wire like landlines. They transmit voice calls over the internet using a normal broadband internet connection.

VoIP phones don't rely on physical exchanges. They convert calls into digital signals within the phone itself.

Landline Benefits and Limitations

There are some advantages and disadvantages to traditional landline phones and phone numbers.


There will always be a time and place for voice calls, even with the rise of email and text. And voice should always be a part of your business’s customer service and conversational messaging strategy.

Advantages of Landline Phones

  • You Can Rely on Call Quality: Landlines are generally reliable and the call quality can be clearer than a mobile phone.
  • Landlines Work Without Power: Traditional copper phone lines have their own power supply, so they can function even during a blackout.
  • No Dropped Calls: Carrier networks still drop calls from time-to-time if you’re on a cell phone. This is typically a non-issue with landlines.

Disadvantages of Landline Phones

  • You Get Automatic Directory Listings in Phone Books: All landline numbers get automatically listed in phone books and directories. This can lead to spam and unwanted calls.
  • You’re Connected to a Phone Jack: Even with a cordless phone, landlines are still limited to physical locations. You’ll always need a phone jack.
  • You Can’t Respond to Texts: There’s no interface for responding or taking action with an inbound text.

What Happens When You Send a Text to a Landline

When you text a landline, the carrier checks the recipient's number to see if it's eligible for text-to-landline service. Your text message then gets recorded and the service calls the recipient's landline phone.

  1. A text message gets sent from a cell phone or text messaging service.
  2. The carrier checks the landline recipient’s address to confirm landline text service.
  3. Your text message gets recorded in a female voice.
  4. The text-to-landline service rings the recipient’s phone.
  5. Your text message gets “read” aloud as a voice message.
  6. Emojis and texting acronyms like LOL are read out as “happy face” and “laughing out loud”.

Why You Need to Text Enable Your Business Landline Phone

If you don’t have a text-enabled landline, then nothing happens when someone texts your existing landline.

All of these SMS text messages just disappear.

They go straight into a virtual black hole. Undelivered. Unread. Unanswered.

Suggested Article: Stop Calling - Here's How to Engage Customers At Scale

Top 7 Reason Why You Need to Text Enable Your Landline:

  1. You get to keep your existing business phone number
  2. Customers are already texting landlines
  3. Customers prefer texting with businesses
  4. More businesses are texting with their customers
  5. You can improve your customer service and retention
  6. You can take advantage of automation to save time and increase efficiency
  7. You can centralize your messaging and business phone systems

1 . You Get to Keep Your Existing Business Phone Number

Many businesses advertise their phone numbers exclusively. You see this everywhere.

They’re on windows, truck decals, billboards, and all kinds of other advertising. And if you’re an older, established business, organization, or service in your community, chances are good everyone knows your business or organization phone number.

To change your existing number would be a step backward. You don’t want to give up on years of brand recognition.

The good news is that most business texting platforms make enabling your existing phone number a simple process.

You don’t need to install software or hardware. And no need to change your voice service to text-enable your business landline.

Your text to voice service provider will work with your business text messaging platform and “port” over your existing phone number to start receiving text messages.

2. Customers Are Already Texting Landlines

Customers could be trying to text your landline and you’d never know it. Some 58% of customers have tried to try to text back after missing a call from a business.


If your landline isn’t text-enabled, then you’re probably missing customer service and sales opportunities. And that’s all because people can’t text you.

3. Customers Prefer Texting With Businesses

If you’re not already texting with your customers, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

SMS text messages are one of the top four most adopted mobile marketing tactics to date.


Because texts get read, and 90% of customers would rather text than chat on the phone with your business.

Need further proof? Text messages have a 98% open rate. Compare that to roughly 20% for email and less for voice. Neither have the same level of engagement as texting.

Bottom line: customers read texts. They don’t respond to emails and they don’t answer phone calls.

4. More Businesses Are Texting With Their Customers

Customers are driving a shift in business communication towards text messaging. They want more convenient, immediate, personalized messaging experiences.

This is why 39% of businesses already use some form of text messaging to communicate with their customers.

Texting makes it easy for your customers to communicate with your business or organization. And they get to do it in the way they want, in their own time.

Suggested Article: Email vs Text? Texting vs Calling? Which One’s Best?

5. You’ll Improve Your Customer Service and Retention

You’re behind the curve if you haven’t already adopted a conversational messaging strategy.

Customers want to text and a business text messaging service that makes it easy to text-enable your landline can help.

This is because text enabling your telephone service makes it easier for customers to get in contact with you. And you’re using your customers’ most preferred communication method.

Being more available can even increase your reach and improve customer engagement levels.

Plus, you’ll never miss a question. No more frustration with missed replies.

Suggested Article: Guide to SMS Customer Service & Conversational Messaging

6. You Can Take Advantage of Automation to Save Time and Increase Efficiency

Many businesses and organizations already use text messages to send appointment reminders and automate payment collection and invoicing.

But this is just the start of what you can do with text message automation.

When you text enable your landline and plug it into a business text messaging platform you unlock a bunch of features. These include pre-saved text message templates and a host of text message scheduling and automation options.

You can even set up keyword autoresponders to send automated text responses. If a customer texts “OFFICE HOURS”, then they could automatically get a text with your office hours.

Features like these are perfect for providing immediate support and responding to frequently asked questions. They can also work well for promotional “text-to” campaigns.

Suggested Article: Guide to Automated Text Messages

7. You Can Centralize Your Messaging and Business Phone Systems

With a text-enabled landline and a texting service, you can centralize your text messaging and voice calls into one platform. And you get to retain all of the standard phone call features you get on your desk phone, like caller ID, call waiting, and call forwarding.

But the main benefit of centralizing all of your business communications is preventing missed messages. Your landline won’t become a virtual black hole for text messages.

You can also use many text messaging system’s call forwarding features to route incoming voice calls. If someone calls a separate phone number, you can route the call to another number of your choosing.

This works great for businesses and organizations that prefer having separate numbers just for texting customers and contacts.

Suggested Article: How to Set Up Call Forwarding with MessageDesk

How Do Business Texting Services Work with Landlines?

Ok, we’ve seen that customers prefer to text and that text-enabling your landline is crucial.

So how does a business text service work with your landline?

Many people think of voice and text as getting routed to the same mobile device. They think the two are linked.

But a business texting service actually helps you manage your voice calls and text messages independently.

Your landline doesn’t really “receive” the text. Your phone number does. It functions as an address and handles the routing and display for both voice and text.

Your voice calls still get sent to your landline phone. But your text messages get routed to your landline texting service’s software.

What you get with a business texting service is an interface for reading and responding to text messages.

This is where you can compose your responses, add automation and send text messages that get routed over normal carrier SMS networks.

Which Telecom Providers Support Text to Landline?

Carrier Text to Landline Support
Verizon Yes
AT&T Yes
Sprint Yes
T-Mobile Yes

Text to Landline Services vs Business Text Messaging Platforms

Don’t confuse a text to landline service with business text messaging platforms.

A text to landline service convert texts sent to a landline into voice messages. They don’t have an interface for reading or responding to text messages. These services call the recipient’s landline phone number and deliver a text message via voice.

This type of messaging solution isn’t scalable for many businesses and organizations. This is because there’s no way to handle high volumes of messages.

A business text messaging platform provides an interface for reading and responding to text messages and even automating responses. It’s a more technical and unified solution for all of your text messaging.

How to Text Enable a Landline Phone

It used to be impossible to send SMS text messages to and from landline phone numbers.

But many business text messaging platforms have direct relationships with tier-1 wireless carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Through these relationships, they can communicate with one another and text-enable most business landline numbers.

They assign all text routing to a SPID (Service Provider Identifier) and validate that the owner of the number gives them permission to act as their text messaging provider.

Your business text messaging platform will then provision the number to start texting. The whole process typically takes less than 24 hours.

All you’ll need to do in most cases to text enable your landline is reach out to your business text messaging provider.

They’ll send you a letter of authorization (LOA). This records your consent to text enable your landline. They’ll then let you know within 24 hours when your landline text messaging is ready to go.

What to Look for in a Text Enabled Landline Service

You may already know that you’re ready to text-enable your landline and start using a business SMS platform.

So now it's time to understand what to look for in a good business texting app.

If you're interested in a fully integrated text-to-landline solution, then you have a myriad of options (including MessageDesk).
But what you really need is a way to know which texting app will work best for your business or organization.

There are many things to consider when choosing the best texting app, but overall the best texting apps have these features:

  • Easy to use and get started with
  • Accessible on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices
  • Able to support adding multiple users
  • Use a local 10-digit phone number instead of a shortcode
  • Supports sending messages over 160 characters
  • Equipped with call forwarding features
  • Capable of saving text messages as templates
  • Create groups of contact lists and customers
  • Sends texts to multiple recipients without reply all
  • Schedules text messages for sending later at any time
  • Manages opt-in, opt-out, and consent
  • Integrates with other apps
  • Provides good customer service and support

Suggested Article: How to Choose the Best Business Texting App

Ready to integrate texting into your customer support and service process? MessageDesk is here to help with smarter, simpler ways to send text messages.

Visit our learning center for information on how to get started with MessageDesk. You’ll find a quick start guide to texting, a features overview, and an explanation of what MessageDesk is.

You’ll also want to check out our list of free SMS text message templates. Just copy and paste to start texting.

Finally, feel free to start a free MessageDesk trial.

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