#Lync User QuickTip #26: Lync Instant Message to Any SMS Enabled USA Mobile Phone (for Free, In 1 Minute)


Note: You do not need an AOL account but you do need your Lync PIC AOL Federation.
Note: You need Lync 2010 or Lync Windows Store App to use this  (more details below)

Due to the fact that SMS has recently hit its 20th anniversary, many are wondering what IM solution will replace SMS. Well, with this solution, or another solution using this concept, any IM/P solution could render test messaging less relevant. (Actually I’m quite interested in the subject of moving past SMS so if you have more ideas, please comment or twitter me @matthewlandis )

Steps to setup: 1-Configure AOL PIC Federation, 2-Type in SMS number, 3-IM to SMS!

#1-Get PIC federation for AOL/AIM work correctly. Here are some tips on how to enable AIM/AOL PIC.

#2-Now just type in the phone number, prefixed by +1 and suffixed by (e164 format) into Lync client. (Example:

type in sms number

#3-If everything is working alright (with your PIC AOL federation) the contact should light up as "online" as shown below. (note, AOL doesn’t verify the sms # until you send the message) Now just send your message! That’s it!

aol presence lit up

Below is what the SMS mobile sees: The sms will come from a 6 digit number. Each sms will include the Lync URI so the person knows who the IM is coming from. And as clearly noted on each sms, the mobile user can reply.


Of course you can save a contact and give the SMS contact a nice name.

save as a contact with name

More details about your AOL to SMS Instant Message Account

A good way to think about this service is that every USA mobile phone already has a corresponding AOL account. Identity/Authentication is done via the mobile phone number.  Management of this account is done by sending SMS msgs to 26519. To get started send HELP to 26519. The mobile device can easily STOP this service.

Some question I still have about this service and maybe some AOL/AIM guru can help me?

  • Is there a way from the mobile/via sms to change your AOL/AIM “presence” to away/offline?
  • Is there any statements/sources on if AOL/AIM is planning to continue to support AOL IM?
  • This is an excellent way to bridge the Instant Message / SMS divide, are there any other vendors doing this? (just in case AOL goes away)



  • You do not need to have any AOL account for this to work
  • Amazingly it is not all that clear that the sms is actually coming from AOL!
  • You handle txt message communication JUST like an peer to peer IM in Lync
  • This includes using the same Lync window, and you IM history is saved
  • You can same the contact in Outlook and Pin on Lync just like any other contact



  • txt phone number can not be a part of an IM conference
  • IM is the only modality supported



  • no cost per text (just what the recieving mobile pays)
  • if the IM you send is longer than 1 SMS it will split the message.
  • Works for USA mobile numbers
  • No need to know which mobile operator


Which Lync clients work with this Solution?

Since this solution depends on simple federation it should work with any Lync client---unfortunately there is a snafu related to the URI starting with a +. It seems in some newer Lync clients any URI that starts with a + is hardwired to consider this a telephone number. This limitation means that you cannot federate with any contact/URI that starts with a + . (thanks to @tompacyk for pointing this out)

Lync 2010 Works
Lync Attendant Works
Lync 2013 Windows Store App (RT) Works
Lync 2013 Basic Doesn’t Work
Lync 2013 Doesn’t Work
Lync Mobile for Windows Phone Doesn’t Work
Lync Mobile for Android Doesn’t Work
Lync Mobile for iPhone Untested
Lync Mobile for iPad Untested
Pidgin 2.10.0 w/SIPE Works


Other Microsoft Lync to SMS Gateways:

More stuff on AOL / SMS:
Test AOL PIC/Federation:


  1. The article is good to read and worth sharing
    sms service

  2. Has Microsoft done something to make this not work?? I recently tried this and it does not seem to work. I have Lync Server 2013 and I tried this with a Lync windows store app on a windows 8.1 machine. I am federated with AOL and have been for more than a year. I can do the +1(phonenumber) and I can get the IM window showing the little running aol guy. I can send the im but the users phone never gets the message. I tried with multiple users on multiple phones using different wireless carriers.


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