Do u luv 2 txt? But h8 paying 4 it? Me 2! Despite that fact that everyone and their mother and (grandmother!) texts, most mobile carriers’ text messaging plans are pretty pricey. When you break it down, even though a single 160-character text message takes up a mere 1/500th of the data of a 1-minute phone call, mobile phone carriers still charge much more for text messaging than other cell phone and data services. The carriers know we’re addicted to texting and they take advantage of our reliance for their financial benefit. For example, several years ago many of us started getting “hooked” on texting when we had AT&T’s reasonably priced budget texting plan ($10 per month for 1,000 text messages, which is the equivalent of $0.01 per message). But two years ago, AT&T got rid of this budget plan and instead forced customers to sign up for either a $20 per month unlimited texting plan or a $0.20 per text message plan (or choose to not text at all — the horror!).

If you’d rather use all that money you spend on text messaging plans on something else — like face-to-face activities and festivities with your friends and family, check out these free text-messaging programs:

Computer-to-Phone Free Text Messaging

TextSendr: TextSendr.com is a free way to send an SMS text message to almost any cell phone provider from your computer. It’s very simple — to send a free text message, go to TextSendr.com and enter the recipient’s phone number and cell phone provider, your email address (optional), and up to a 140 character text message in the designated box and click on the “Send” button. The recipient should receive your text message within a couple of minutes, if not seconds. Your IP address will be included in the text message sent to the recipient. If you included your email address, you’ll receive replies to your text message in your email inbox.


Email-to-Phone Free Text Messaging

It’s so easy to send free text messages via email. You can even use the email on your smartphone to do this. Here’s how you do it:

1. Find out what mobile carrier your intended recipient uses. You could ask the person, or you could find out this info by “tracing” the recipient’s phone number by looking up his or her phone number on a site such as CarrierLookup.com.

2. Find out the mobile carrier for the cell phone number you want to text? Okay, good — now it’s time to create an SMS-compatible email address for that phone number. This email address consists of two parts: the recipient’s 10-digit phone number and the recipient’s carrier network domain/SMS gateway. Each mobile carrier has a different carrier network domain/SMS gateway. For example, if your recipient’s 10-digit phone number is 305-555-1234 and his mobile carrier is AT&T, combine that phone number with AT&T’s carrier network domain/SMS gateway (@txt.att.net) to get the following SMS-compatible email address: 3055551234@txt.att.net.

Here’s a list of some of the most popular mobile carriers and their carrier network domains/SMS gateways:

  • Alltel: @message.alltel.com
  • AT&T: @txt.att.net
  • Boost Mobile: @myboostmobile.com
  • Cingular Wireless: @cingularme.com
  • MetroPCS: @mymetropcs.com
  • Nextel Wireless: @messaging.nextel.com
  • Sprint: @messaging.sprintpcs.com
  • SunCom: @tms.suncom.com
  • T-Mobile: @tmomail.net
  • U.S. Cellular: @email.uscc.net
  • Verizon Wireless: @vtext.com
  • Virgin Mobile:@vmobl.com

If you don’t see your recipient’s mobile carrier on this list, check the mobile carrier’s website for information, or contact the carrier’s customer service department and ask them.

***Note: While sending a text message through programs like TxtSendr or Txt2Day or through an Email-to-SMS Gateway is free for you to send, the recipient of the text message will be charged for receiving the text according to his mobile service provider.

For free phone-to-phone text messaging apps, check out this KCL article.

More Ways to Text for Free