It’s not big news for deep Gmail users, but it is a good news progressively gaining grounds in Africa.
Today I sent a SMS from my Gmail account to a friend’s mobile phone in West Africa free of charge. You can do it too, so long as you have a Gmail account, and that you follow the steps below:
4 steps to activate the SMS interface in your Gmail
- Go to Gmail Settings (top right of the web page)
- Open “Labs” tab
- Enable the 2 SMS labs available (SMS (text messaging) in Chat and SMS in Chat gadget)
Save the new settings.
- Now you can send SMS to a number of supported mobile operators SMS chat in Gmail. The recipient of your SMS can reply but will be charged the same price as regular local SMS.
Supported Mobile Operators
SMS chat in Gmail is currently available in 13 countries of which 8 are African. Unfortunately, not all mobile operators in a country may support the service. On this page, you can check the complete list operators. So far, the USA is the only country where all mobile operators support SMS sent from a Gmail account.
Limited or Unlimited SMS
After setting up SMS in Gmail, you are granted 50 messages, and every time you receive a reply to a message, you are granted 5 messages. If you are a SMS freak, beware you don’t get to the zero limit, because you will have to wait 24 hours to be granted 50 messages again.
Tip to Buy Additional Messages
Send an SMS to your own phone, and then reply to that message multiple times. Every time you send a reply message, your quota is increased by five. Effectively, you’re buying more messages by paying your phone company for these outgoing messages.
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