PTel Mobile announced on Facebook that they are now support sending and receiving messages from all SMS short codes.
Short codes are the three to six digit numbers that business use to send texts alerts. For example, many banks let you sign up for text alerts when your checking account balance gets low or there's unusual activity on your account. ESPN can text scores for your favorite teams and weather.com can send you the daily forecast or severe weather alerts. You can vote for contestants on American Idol by texting a short code number.
Short codes should "just work" on any carrier but they often don't with prepaid operators, particularly T-Mobile MVNOs. Until this change PTel only allowed short code texts from Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but now they work "from everywhere" according to the PTel's Facebook post.
This change only applies to regular short codes that are free on unlimited plans and charged at the normal 2¢ per messaging rate or PTel Real PayGo. "Premium" short codes that charge the user extra are still blocked. So you still can't donate money to a charity, buy ringtones or sign up for overpriced joke or the day services with PTel. That's OK with me, other than charity giving, premium short codes have a terrible reputation, with many users complaining of their account balances being drained by services that never signed up for, cost much more than advertised or were impossible to cancel.
Strangely, PTel's own short code service that lets check you account balance by texting BAL to 7835 doesn't seem to work anymore. It stopped working around the time of PTel's 3 day Website and call center outage last week but didn't come back up when the site and call center did. I'm sure many Ptel users find checking their balance with a text more convenient than calling or using the Website and hope PTel will bring the service back soon.
Update: A helpful reader left a comment with three ways to get your balance texted to you. You can dial #BAL# (#225#) or text BAL to 7801 or 9080. All three work for me.
Related: Prepaid Operator Profile: PTel Mobile