The way we communicate with each other keeps changing. Once, we relied on letters, telephones and fax machines but now we prefer speedier and sometimes less intrusive forms of communication like email or instant messenger. Even more popular, however, and a phenomenon of communication experienced worldwide, is sending SMS text messages to each other via cellphones (also known as mobile phones or cellular phones). |
So, what is SMS?
Short Message Service (SMS) is the general name for the technology which enables people to send and receive text messages via cellphones (or mobile phones).
The GSM digital mobile phone standard (popular in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and some parts of North America) state that: "Messages can be up to 160 characters of text in length". CDMA networks allow greater message size and operate in North & South America, Asia (China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, etc).
(In actual fact, most modern cellphones using the GSM standard send messages larger than 160 characters, but they do so by sending multiple messages of 160 characters. That means that when you send a message of 330 characters in length, you have actually sent two messages of 160 characters and one message of 10 characters.)
SMS messages can comprise of words, numbers or an alphanumeric combination; binary format is even supported.
Technically speaking, SMS is a store and forward service. This means that messages are not sent directly from sender to recipient, but always via an SMS center instead. You have a limited time to download or receive your messages (this happens automatically when you switch your cellphone on), otherwise the messages are removed from the SMS center concerned.
Message delivery (or failure) can be confirmed, too.
Note: this is a limited definition of sms. A fuller explanation can be found at
How Can You Send SMS Text Messages For Free?
Sending SMS is a great, quick way to communicate with friends and family. Unlike sending email, though, sending SMS messages is often not free. In the United Kingdom, for example, messages often cost £0.10 per message. And with people sending tens or hundreds of messages each day, costs can mount up.
So mobile phone companies design payment plans that allow you to send a certain number of text messages free per month. Or, if you pay enough of a monthly fee (or top-up your pay-as-you-go phone often enough) you may even be allowed to send an unlimited number of sms messages for free.
Still, this is a costly way to send 'free sms'.
A much better way is to use so-called 'free sms sites'.
Yes, there are many, many websites that allow you to send free SMS text messages online. Simply type in your message at such a website, then the cellphone number you wish to send a text message to, and click the send button. Sometimes the messages are delivered immediately, or within the space of an hour or so. Also, quite often there is no need to register to use the free sms service.
Example free sms sites include sms.ac, cbfsms.com and Fonetastic, and you can now find free sms on myspace.com too.
Like anything else on the web, some free SMS sites work better than others. For example:
* Some open for business one week and are closed the next, unable to recover their costs of delivering thousands of sms text messages. (There is always a cost associated with sending sms text messages online for the sms site concerned.)
* Some free sms sites work in one country but not another.
* And, most worryingly, some free SMS sites are simply not free -- either it costs the person to send the sms messages, or it costs someone to receive them.
Basically, a lot of free sms text messaging sites start out free, then either stop working or start to charge.
That's why a visit to a free SMS directory, where sites are reviewed or commented on, is recommended. For example, there are more than 150 free text messaging sites currently listed at TextMeFree.com.
Is Sending Free SMS Really Safe?
It should be safe to send free text messages using a text messaging site, but many people have been caught out by services that sneakily get you to first join a subscription service, that often costs several dollars per week. It can be quite difficult to unsubscribe from such services, too.
Generally speaking free SMS sites profit from the advertising on their websites or in the actual text messages being sent; these sites don't normally abuse their relationship with the people doing the SMS texting. It's also generally true that text messages get sent quickly and people do not receive so-called SMS spam on their cellphone or mobile phone afterwards.
Again, a good free SMS directory will provide enough information about a free sms service or site for you to be able to decide for yourself.
Sending SMS text messages to your friends and family is quick, easy and fun. But it doesn't have to cost you anything, if you find and use a free SMS text messaging site that lets you send text messages to the country where they live. Happy texting.
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