Nowadays text messages can be pretty cheap. It doesn’t cost much to get a bundle or plan that gives you hundreds or even unlimited texts for a month. And if you have a smartphone, you can use apps like Facebook’s Messenger to send messages for free. But if you’re not on such a plan, or can’t/won’t/don’t use Messenger, you have to pay the “standard rate” – in the UK, standard rate sms cost 12p on ee, and on Vodafone it is 14p! That’s pretty dear really, especially if you need to send multiple messages – and if you are having a conversation with someone you’ll be sending a whole bunch of sms to each other.
Which is where I come in. To tell you how to send free text messages, from anywhere to anywhere. This is supposing that you have internet access, but of course I always assume that as you are reading this (which would be rather difficult if you didn’t have online access). And I use a lot of posts on this blog to give you advice and examples on stuff you can do on the internet.
So to send free text messages from just about anywhere to just about anywhere, go to the website www.afreesms.com. As I mostly send messages to people here in the UK, I use the dedicated UK service at www.afreesms.com/intl/united-kingdom as that saves having to select the country every time I want to send a message. But for this, I’ll use the international service for examples.
Here’s what you see when you go to www.afreesms.com/freesms/:
To start, you need to choose the country where the person is that you’re sending the message to. You do this by clicking on the Country field at the top – this will give you a drop-down menu with nearly all the countries in the world on it. Then in the Mobile Number field you type in the recipient’s mobile phone number. You see that there is a + symbol at the start: this means the number is in International format so you type the number without the leading zero; let’s imagine my number is 07890123456, so to send me a message you’ll put in my number like 7890123456.
Now we get the Message field which is, surprise surprise, where you type your message. Remember, this is sms, so your message must fit in the 160 character limit (but don’t worry if that’s not enough, you can send more messages).
Now we come to the Sender ID field. Here they want you to put your mobile number, in international format. If I was sending a message to someone, I would plug in my country code – UK, which is +44 – and my number without the leading zero, so it would be +447890123456. I’m not sure why they want this info, maybe it’s about international sanctions; on the UK page, where people only send messages from the UK to the UK, they don’t ask for this. But if you’re sending sms abroad you have to do it.
Next it’s the Verification Code. The display shows a 6-digit number, which you have to copy into the box. And there’s a refresh image which you might have to click on if you’ve taken a long time to type everything and the link has expired.
And finally, all done, you click the Send button at the very bottom of the page.
You should remember that sometimes the Verification Code or Send button is covered by an advert box. Just click the X to kill the ad, and you can get to the fields you need.
In the FAQ they claim they have a 99% Success Delivery Rate, and if a message doesn’t get through it is because of the following:
- Invalid mobile number.
- The mobile phone that you are trying to reach has been switch off or is out of coverage.
- Carrier-to-carrier error or network congestions.
- If the status is Delivered and you do not receive this means either your country is blocking our numbers or there is no carrier-to-carrier SMS agreement in place.
In my experience, some messages just get lost somewhere along the way. So I tend to send my messages twice, and one of them will get through. This isn’t a problem for me as the service is free.
There is also an anti-spam policy (like just about every online messaging service, from email to Messenger). And a fair use policy. Other than that, you can send as many texts as you want, from just about any country to just about any country. Here’s the list from their website (also links to the relevant page):
|中国 (China)||台灣 (Taiwan)||日本国 (Japan)||澳門 (Macau)||香港 (Hong Kong)|
|대한민국 (South Korea)||Afghanistan||Aland Islands||Albania||Algeria|
|Iraq||Ireland||Isle of Man||Israel||Italy|
Iran is on the list. North Korea, as “Korea, North” is also there, but South Korea isn’t. I can’t see what other countries are missing – if any more are missing – if you notice any, please let us all know in Comments.
All in all a good service. Make the most of it before it goes away.