SMS support

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SMS support in Thunderbird
Stage Feature Inbox
Status `
Release target Thunderbird 19
Health OK
Status note `


Product manager `
Directly Responsible Individual `
Lead engineer `
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead `
QA lead `
UX lead `
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members Nate Watson

Open issues/risks

If this is implemented, should it be implemented as a separate module, or integrated into the chat features? Should it do the same with the UX? Should this be implemented as a main feature, or as an add-on?

By what means will TB interface with SMS networks?

Stage 1: Definition

1. Feature overview

SMS is a common messaging protocol. Thunderbird should allow the user to send and receive SMS messages. Right now, many other communication clients support this protocol, such as outlook, the pre-packaged OSX apps, ymail, etc. For some phone users, it's their main form of communication. Thunderbird should support this protocol because many people use text messaging as a cheaper communication form, along with other mail client users, and Thunderbird should accommodate this to ensure easier communication for users. This feature is important because many users of Thunderbird use Thunderbird because commercial software is too expensive. When one combines this with the prevalence of cheap SMS, adding SMS support to Thunderbird logical.

2. Users & use cases

The primary users of this feature will be desktop users who want to send messages to phone users who have restrictive data plans, and visa-versa.

3. Dependencies

Depending on the implementation, the chat team may need to get involved in some manner.

4. Requirements

This feature should allow Thunderbird users to send SMS messages to users of all major carriers, and eachother in a reasonably reliable, and not-completely insecure manner; and allow them to view these messages the same.


The goal is not to replace the chat system or turn Thunderbird into a phone emulator, but to simply support the SMS standard.

Stage 2: Design

5. Functional specification


6. User experience design


Stage 3: Planning

7. Implementation plan


8. Reviews

Security review


Privacy review


Localization review




Quality Assurance review


Operations review


Stage 4: Development

9. Implementation


Stage 5: Release

10. Landing criteria


Feature details

Priority Unprioritized
Rank 999
Theme / Goal Connect
Roadmap Thunderbird
Secondary roadmap `
Feature list Thunderbird
Project `
Engineering team `

Team status notes

  status notes
Products ` `
Engineering ` `
Security sec-review-needed
Privacy ` `
Localization ` `
Accessibility ` `
Quality assurance ` `
User experience ` `
Product marketing ` `
Operations ` `

Assuming this is implemented, security will need to work on this to a heavy degree.

There is a list of SMS gateways at which should help us figure out how to interface Thunderbird with the SMS aspect of the phone networks. Some of these should be skipped in order to comply with federal law in Mozilla incorporated areas.