There is a new feature on Gmail that let it users use email on any mobile phone without internet connection. With this feature, you can receive, reply and send emails as SMS messages, regardless of whether you have a data bundle connection like GPRS, EDGE, WiFi or 3G. This means that even if your phone can not browse the internet, you can still access your email messages using this SMS features on Gmail. This is tagged ‘Gmail Without Internet Connection’.
This feature is currenctly only available to those in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. Other African countries will still be added in future, according to Gmail.
How to Get Started
Here’s how to start using Gmail SMS on your phone:
- Go to Gmail at www.gmail.com and login.
- Click your profile photo at the top of any Gmail page and click Account.
- Click Open SMS settings in the “Phone and SMS” section.
- Add or edit your phone number to receive Gmail to that number.
- Verify your phone number by entering the verification code that we sent as SMS to your phone.
- Check the box for email forwarding to your phone.
Once you start Gmail SMS, you can also reply to emails and compose new emails as SMS.
Here are a few details about this feature:
Receiving email: Gmail SMS is based on a credit system. Receiving email is free, starting with a 30 email credit. Every time you reply to an email by SMS, send a command (e.g. MORE, HELP) or compose a new email, you get 7 more free emails. Gmail SMS will notify you if your credit is close to 0.
Mobile operator charges: Receiving SMS is free of charge, but network providers may charge for every SMS sent from your phone, be it a reply or any command.
Mobile operators supported:
Nigeria – Airtel, Etisalat, Glo, MTN, Starcomms, and Visafone
Ghana – Airtel, MTN, Tigo, and Vodafone
Kenya – Airtel, Orange, Safaricom, and Yu
Viewing Your Gmail SMS Messages
Here’s what you’ll see when you open a Gmail SMS on your cell phone:
- “g:” indicating this SMS is from Gmail
- Email address of the sender
- Subject of the email
- Additional text from the body of the email, up to the maximum SMS length delivered by your mobile operator
Here’s an example:
g: firstname.lastname@example.org: Your application Hi Kofi, we would like to invite you…
To see more of the email, reply with MORE, M, or + and you’ll then receive an additional SMS with more text from the email. You can reply with these commands as many times as you like until you reach the end of the message.
Each Gmail SMS you reply to with MORE, M, or + will be marked as read in your Gmail inbox.
Replying to Gmail SMS messages
You can respond to an email by replying directly to the SMS from your cell phone. Gmail will add your response as an email in the appropriate conversation thread.
When you reply, the original message will be marked as read in your Gmail inbox.
Composing A New Email Message using SMS
You can compose a new email by writing an SMS with the following syntax:
C [email address of recipient] [email message], where:
- “C” is the command for composing an email as SMS
- [email address of recipient] is the correct email address to which the message will be delivered.
- [email message] is the content of your message. The first few words will be duplicated as the subject of the email.
Here’s an example: “C email@example.com this is an email message which I am writing on my feature phone and sending to you as SMS”
Send this SMS to the number from which you received your Gmail SMS activation SMS.
Commands to Control GMail SMS from your phone
You can send the following commands as a reply to any Gmail SMS:
MORE, M, or + will request an additional SMS with more text from that email message.
PAUSE will stop receiving all mail to your phone until you resume it.
RESUME will start receiving mail to your phone again.
HELP or H will request an SMS with Gmail SMS options and commands.
How to Cancel Gmail SMS Feature
If you no longer want to receive your email to your cell phone and stop further SMS, you can turn off this feature:
- On your Gmail page, click your profile photo and choose Account.
- Click Open SMS settings in the “Phone and SMS” settings.
- Uncheck the forwarding check box and Save.
NOTE: All SMS messages sent from your cell phone may be charged by your network provider. Also, if you change your mobile number without changing the one in your Gmail account, Gmail auto-forwarding will be discontinued.