How to Set Up Exchange 2000/2003 to Forward Text Messages to a Cell Phone

This document explains step-by-step how to set up a forwarding e-mail account with Microsoft Exchange. Furthermore, the document shows how to forward text messages to a cell phone. The instructions include information on the leading US cellular providers, but the procedure will work for any cellular service that provides text messaging via the internet.


Almost all cellular service providers offer users the ability to send and receive text messages. Most cell phones have built-in messaging capabilities that allow users to read and reply to mail.

Cellular companies also allow customers to receive text messages from the internet (via SMTP). Most companies create e-mail accounts for users based on their ten-digit phone numbers. For example, a Sprint user with the cell phone number (650)555-1111 would have the account Any e-mail sent to that account would arrive on the user's cell phone.

Sending e-mail to a cell phone is useful, but the e-mail address is neither elegant nor easy to remember. Additionally, as providers modify their service offerings or merge with other companies, the address may change. For example, AT&T Wireless switched its SMTP address domain from to to market their mMode wireless web service. One solution that addresses these shortcomings is to create a forwarding account in Microsoft Exchange.

Creating a forwarding account will solve several problems while adding value. A forwarding address will hide the cell phone company's e-mail address and replace it with This adds a level of sophistication while making it easier for others to remember the e-mail address. Also, if a cellular provider decides to change their address domain (see AT&T example above), e-mail messages will still go to with just a minor administrative update.

To set up a forwarding account, perform the following steps:

(Note: Requires administrative rights for Active Directory and Exchange)
  1. On the Exchange Server, run Active Directory Users and Computers

With the new user and contact, all SMTP e-mail sent to the new address will be forwarded to the user's cell phone.

Top US Cellular Providers (Current as of September 30, 2004)

US Cellular ProviderE-Mail Address Format

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