It's easy to send free text messages from your mobile phone without incurring SMS charges, thanks to the rise of free, downloadable apps that will transmit text messages without using your cell phone's SMS text messaging quota. Basically, they zap messages over the Internet and bypass the SMS system, but pretty much work the same way.
To send a free text message, try using any one of these five apps:
WhatsApp launched in 2009 but really caught on in 2011. It has established itself as a leader in text-messaging as a standalone mobile app that allows users to send messages either over WiFi or over the Internet using their data plan instead of their SMS text messaging plan. WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging tool and works on most smart phones. It costs 99 cents for iPhones but has been free for the other platforms. Visit What's App website. Read the WhatsApp review.
Determined not to be outflanked by rivals, Facebook has moved aggressively into text messaging on mobile phones. Its standalone Messenger app does something similar to WhatsApp and is available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry platforms. Visit Facebook's mobile messenger page
Kik works with the four major smart phone platforms--iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows. Its has Reddit and YouTube tightly integrated, which makes conversation and community and video-sharing readily available. Kik started in 2009 and is a popular app for sending free text message.
MessageMe is one of the newer -- and niftier-- text messing apps. It launched in 2013 and has already proven popular because the interface is intuitive, easy and fun. Read our review of MessageMeand then visit the website.
Bonus Apps: More Messaging Tools
Line is a mobile messaging app especially popular in Japan that has been gaining popularity in other parts of the world. Its owner, Line Corp., is controlled by a South Korean firm called Naver. Line offers free texting, voice calling and also a bunch of free, colorful stickers. It is available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Nokia-- and also personal desktop computers. The Line messenger app first launched in 2011 in response to the devastating earthquake that hit Japan and knocked out a lot of communications. In addition to free texting and free calling, Line has branched out and offers photo sharing features and status updates resembling those of social networks such as Facebook.
WeChat, an app from China, is another popular mobile app allowing free texting and voice calls. It enables group chats, video chats and works across platforms, including iPhones, BlackBerry, Anroid, Windows and Nokia mobile devices. It is popular in East Asia and Africa, and is owned by Tencent, China's largest Internet portal. WeChat is more than just a messenger, though. IT's a multipurpose app that features photo filters, gaming, people-matching, taxi-hailing and more. WeChat launched in 2010, the year a bunch of smart phone free texting apps got their start and spread virally across many Asian countries.
KakaoTalk is an easy to use messenger app that immediately detects the user's phone number after it's installed and launched. So it works without the user having to go through a tedious signup process. It also will syncronize the user's contact list in their smart phone with the mobile messaging app's caller list, making it easy to dial friends. KakaoTalk offers free voice calls and text messaging. It also allows user to conduct group polls with ease. The South-Korea-based app first launched in 2010. Like some of the other mobile messengers popular in Asian countries, KakaoTalk also features a variety of gaming options.