My phone is working normally and network connection is fine. While trying to send an SMS, I get a notification for 'Error 38: Unable to send sms'. The message remains unsent after multiple attempts.

  1. There is no detectable interruption in network; I can use internet services, make calls and even receive SMS.
  2. This is not an account balance issue.
  3. Toggling between networks (2G/3G) does not help. Sometimes the issue resolves after a while.
  4. My network is Airtel (India), handset is Xiaomi A1.

Could someone help me understand what could be happening and how I can avoid/resolve this issue?

  • 1
    I too have the same device and carrier and never faced this problem. Try clearing the cache of SMS app, if it doesn't help clear data (make sure to take backup). If this doesn't help try using another SMS app. BTW the SMS app that came bundled with the device has some other issues I faced and switched to Textra
    – beeshyams
    Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 13:37
  • 1
    @beeshyams - thanks, it seems to be resolved now, and should it happen again I'll try clearing cache. Still trying to understand what could be happening and how to avoid if possible... Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 16:00

2 Answers 2

  1. Remove another messaging application like Truecaller, etc. Successfully solved SMSC (Short Message Service Center) error code 38.

  2. Try inputting *#*#4636#*#* in the dialer and a pop-up menu will open. Select phone option and it will show the SMSC block. Input the cellular company's SMSC number and click update. Get the SMSC number from the service center.


This is because your outgoing service is barred by your service provider. If you are from India then most of the service providers here stop the services if recharges are not done in proper interval as per company's policy.

  • This is not correct. In some instances, at least, the error has been caused by carrier problems and have been widespread. Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 17:35

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