Send Free Text Messages, With or Without a Phone!
If your mobile phone carrier charges you to send or receive a text, here's good news. There are several ways to send a free text message, and with some of them you don't even need a mobile phone. If you've ever wanted to send a quick text message and you didn't have a phone handy... or there's no cellular service where you are... or you hate paying international texting rates, read on!
How to Send Text Messages For Free
Text messaging is a wildly popular feature of cell phones, and one of the industry's fattest cash cows. But ironically, the growing popularity of smartphones is threatening the enormously profitable SMS text message, as free text messaging services that use data connections challenge traditional cellular SMS service.
Text messages brought a whopping $20 billion to cell phone companies last year; Verizon alone earned $7 billion in text message revenue. Profit margins are high, too. The cost of delivering a text message is estimated at one-third of a cent. Most wireless operators charge 10 to 20 cents per text message, or a flat monthly rate of around $20 for unlimited text messaging. International text messages can cost even more.
Have you ever been in a place where there's no mobile phone signal, and you wanted to send a text message? You may experience this while inside a building, or in an area where your mobile carrier doesn't offer service. This happened to me last summer, while visiting Canada with my family. Our Verizon phones were useless at the resort where we stayed, but they did have wifi. So thanks to the Internet, we could still communicate.
Free text messaging services have been around for several years. There are many web-to-phone text services like Txt2Day that let you send a text message from your computer to any cell phone. Txt2Day promises you won't get spammed as a result, and they won't share your number with anyone. I've used the service myself, and can vouch that they take privacy seriously. And in order to prevent anonymous harassment, all messages are tagged with the sender's IP address. Txt2Day will provide this info to law enforcement when requested, and will also filter out most common "abusive" words. (NOTE: There are some "spicy" ads on the Txt2Day site.)
Unfortunately, you typically cannot receive a reply via text with these web-to-text services. One notable exception is the Pinger free web texting service. Pinger assigns you a free phone number, and lets you send and receive texts from a slick web-based interface that lets you view a log of messages sent and received.
Another is Google Voice's free text messaging service. You can text to any SMS-enabled phone in the U.S. or Canada for free, and receive replies. Of course, your correspondents will have to pay their carriers' usual text message charges, if applicable.
Most mobile carriers also have an email-to-text feature that allows you to send a message to a special email address that forwards to the recipient's cell phone. For example, you can send an email to email@example.com, and Verizon will deliver it to the user with that cell phone number. If you want to send a photo, change the domain to vzwpix.com. Users on other major carriers can be reached as follows (phonenumber)@txt.att.net (AT&T);
And if you're into web-based instant messaging, you can always use AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Skype, Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger as an alternative to SMS text messaging.
Free Apps For Texting
Apple offers free text messaging in its iOS operating system for iPhone users. The service, dubbed iMessage, will let users send and receive text, photos, and video to other iOS users over a WiFi or mobile data connection. But as is typical in the closed Apple ecosphere, the service works only between Apples devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
But don't worry... there are other free text messaging apps that work on Android or Blackberry, and will operate across platforms.
TextPlus provides free texting through an app available for iOS and Android devices. You get a TextPlus phone number to use with the app, similar to a Google Voice number. TextPlus does more than simple SMS messaging. You can join "communities" which are essentially chat rooms. You can send group texts to multiple contacts. You can even attach a voice message to a text message. TextPlus uses 3G or WiFi connections and works with tablets as well as smartphones.
WhatsApp is another popular messaging service for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry mobile devices. WhatsApp uses your 3G/4G or WiFi (when available) to send messages, rather than your mobile carrier's SMS network. WhatsApp integrates with your existing phone address book, and enables you to send text, video, and to your contacts, and handles group conversations too. If you have contacts outside the USA, WhatsApp send messages internationally without incurring any extra costs. The Offline support will save any messages you missed until you return.
Just as Skype, Vonage, and other VoIP services drove down the cost of voice calls, free text messaging services based on IP networks are undermining cellular carriers' overpriced text services. And that's a good thing for consumers.
Do you use a free texting service? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Jun 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Send Free Text Messages, With or Without a Phone! (Posted: 13 Jun 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved