There is a new feature on Gmail and it’s Free SMS. This feature allows you to send free SMS or text message to your contact’s mobile number without extra charge to you. This is totally free but the downside is that your recipient must be in your contact list. Aside this, the feature is powerful and it works in Nigeria too. At the moment, Gmail will give you 50 SMS Credit. 1 Credit represent 1 sent SMS.
You can only send SMS messages to your contacts’ mobile phones using Gmail Chat. So in order to use this feature you have to enable the SMS (text messaging) in Chat lab. But most times, if you are among the selected countries, this feature must have been activated automatically for you.
How to Enable SMS in Chat Lab
1. After logging into your Gmail account from a PC, by the left you will see Chat.
2. Point your pointer to it and it will bring up a small arrow (Options), click on this arrow.
3. You will see a list of option, select Chat settings.
4. On the following page, click the Labs tab.
5. Under the Enabled Labs settings, tick Enable.
You must do the above settings before you can use the free SMS features. This will allows you to send and receive text messages (SMS) in Gmail Chat.
How to Send Free Text Message from Gmail
1. Enter your contact’s name in the ‘Search or invite friends’ box in Chat
2. Select Send SMS from the box of options that appears to the right of your contact’s name. Or, if you already have a Chat window open for this contact, just click Options, and select Send SMS.
3. In the dialog box, enter a phone number in the ‘Send SMS messages to this number’ field.
4. Click Save
5. Then a Chat window will appear. Just type your message as you would normally. When you hit Enter, the message will be sent to the phone number you entered. You can change the contact’s phone number anything you wish from the chat box.
If your contact replies, the text message response will appear as a reply in Chat. These conversations are stored in your Chat history just like regular chats.
Below is a screenshot from my phone after I have sent the above message to my number. It takes about 4 seconds for the message to get delivered to my phone.
Before you go on to use this free SMS feature from Gmail, you should check if your country is eligible to use this service. I know this is available to Nigeria but not all networks. The Nigerian networks that support free Gmail SMS are; Glo, MTN, Airtel, Starcomms and Visafone.
If you are not from Nigeria, you can check the list of supported countries here.