There is a huge shift to smartphones these days. Being the owner and user of a smartphone gives you more freedom to break away from imposed rates and to save money. Thanks to VoIP technology, there are ways in which you can cut cost on SMS text messages using your smartphone, avoiding the often exorbitant text rates of GSM operators. Here is how you can send and receive text messages using your smartphone for free.
What You Need
1. You first need of course a smartphone. You will find an app for most smartphones on the Internet, but most apps are focused on the two giants iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android. BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone devices, while being considered somewhat as second-class device with respect to market share and often left behind, are gradually being added to their lists of supported devices by those apps due to their entry (or re-entry) in the smartphone race.
2. You also need Internet connectivity. Most of these apps that allow free text messages work on Wi-Fi and 3G. Wi-Fi restricts you considerably due to its range limitation, so if you want to be able to send and receive SMS text messages for free anywhere you want, you need to have a 3G data plan. This of course comes with a cost, but don’t worry much about it because text messages consume very little data, around 1 KB per message.
3. Then, you need an app that will allow you to send and receive the messages on your smartphone. These apps are free and offer free service.
4. Finally, most of these apps give free texting only to people that use the same app and service. So you need to have your buddies and other contacts download and install on their smartphones the one you are using. Now this is a serious limitation, as you won’t have all your contacts willing to download an app and use it. Even if they are willing, some of them will not be able to do it if they don’t use smartphones or use ones that are not supported by the app you chose. Moreover, some may not have a data plan and will rely on Wi-Fi for connectivity, which renders them unavailable often.
Most apps that achieve this make use of your mobile phone number to identify you, instead of a username. This is quite handy and easy, as it comes closer to SMS. The apps even integrate the contact list of your smartphone and smartly helps you in knowing which contact you can send free text messages to. But this may cause some security concerns, as the app has full access to your contacts and you network.
Is it 100% Free?
Most apps that allow sending and receiving VoIP-based SMS text messages are free to download and install. They also offer free service, topped with some premium service that you can easily make abstraction of. So the only thing you eventually need to pay for is the data plan, as explained above.
Some apps even allow you to share multimedia files with the messages (MMS), like pictures and videos taken with your smartphone’s camera, location information and files. These will eat up data in your data plan.
Here is a list of those apps that allow you to send and receive free text messages. Some of them also allow you free voice and video calls to your contacts, along with some interesting features and functions that you don’t get with traditional GSM text messaging.