SMS charges for the iPhone are perhaps something of a thing of the past, what with contracts in many countries now including a certain amount of SMS texts each month. However, many people either use up their text allowance, or are on Pay as You Go or rolling contracts, and with travelling abroad still being so expensive for sending SMS texts, there is definitely room for the many free web based SMS services available on the App Store.
There are a lot of these apps available, but not all of them actually do what they are supposed to do, either requiring registration, or sometimes only giving you a set amount of free credit, asking you to stump up cash after a trial period, or needing other conditions to be met.
FreeSMSWorld is one of the better offerings available on the App Store for iPhone, as it doesn’t require any registration and will not charge you, ever, for sending SMS texts and messages.
The app has a lot of good options, such as the ability to send your GPS coordinates, the functionality of selecting a number from your iPhone address book and an impressive 235 countries to send to.
Although there are so many countries to choose from, the app handily lets you select a favourite prefix, so that the international prefix field is automatically filled in with this each time, saving you having to scroll through the list every time, which is a nice touch.
To send an SMS, you have to fill in your sender name, but the problem here is that the app doesn’t remember the name you use when you leave the app, meaning that you have to enter this every single time you want to start the app and send an SMS, which soon becomes irritating.
Another problem is the way the app handles mobile numbers and prefixes. Although it does allow you to handily save a prefix, when you go into the address book screen and select a address, the prefix is wiped out, leaving just the number. The only way around this is to actually edit the number listing in the address book to add the prefix, which is not ideal. The app also doesn’t remove the first ‘0’ if you have one before the destination number, meaning that the SMS will never arrive unless you do this manually.
If the app kept the prefix when you imported a number from the address book and automatically removed that first ‘0’ after the prefix and before the actual number, the app would be so much more usable.
I can happily report that, if you do manage to get the number completely right, the SMS will be delivered just fine. Most of the SMS text messages I sent were delivered in under a minute, which is perfectly reasonable.
The app has some sound effects that are pretty funny the first time you hear them, but they can be switched off if you don’t like them.
Overall, this is an app with a lot of potential. The great news is that is works, and free SMS messages are yours, provided you have a working Internet connection, which is great if you have run out of texts or are on holiday. The bad news is that the app doesn’t remember the sender name and removes the prefix when you import a number from your address book, as well as not removing the tricky first zero. These problems can be remedied yourself by editing your address book, so they are not killer problems, although I do hope that the developer can fix them. Still a great tool for anyone wanting to send free SMS messages, as this does work.