Got The (Text) Message!

I’ve long known that I can send SMS (short message service) messages (or as they’re more popularly known, ‘texts’) to cell phones from both the Phone.com web site and my wireless carrier’s web site. And somewhere in the back of my mind I remember seeing that it is possible for others to send text messages to my Phone.com Virtual Office number – a capability that ‘traditional’ phone service doesn’t offer.

But until now it was just a theoretical possibility, nothing I expected to make use of. After all, why would someone send a text to my landline VoIP phone, and not my cell phone?

By now the reader can probably guess with ease what comes next:

It happened.

I got an SMS sent to my home phone number.

The gist of the message was that a friend of ours who lives in New Jersey, and has only wireless service, was having trouble with the signal from her wireless carrier. She could send a text message, but voice calls were dropping like flies. As it turns out this young lady does have Internet service, but she doesn’t have VoIP phone service, and the gist of her text message was to please contact her over the Internet via an Internet Messaging service.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting. The text message was sent to my Phone.com number, and Phone.com then forwarded it to me as an eMail. In other words, it didn’t count toward the monthly message allowance I buy from my carrier.

It also got me thinking about how I might use this in business, for instance if I want to receive text messages while I’m overseas without paying the premium that wireless carriers charge. What I’m thinking of is setting up a virtual number, telling folks to use that for text messages, and then have the texts sent to a free eMail account I set up just for that purpose. Then I can have that account show up as a separate live tile on my Windows Phone 7 handset (yes, I’m already running Mango), and I will get the message anyplace in the world, at no extra cost if I can connect to WiFi.

To learn more about Phone.com SMS service click here.

Stuart Zipper is the past Senior Editor of TelecomWeb news break and a contributing editor to Communications Technology.