For people like me, who live & work out of their country both SMS ad Email serve as extremely useful mediums of communication with relatives & friends back home. Out of these SMS or Simple Messaging Service is by far the most favoured method – for whether you have a net connection or not, you can still lop off a SMS anytime as long as you’re within the reach of the cellular service. Besides one doesn’t need to be computer literate to send a SMS. However, if you consider cases like mine, where I’ve to send SMS-es in bulk on almost all festive occasions apart from the regular (daily) ones – it becomes a thoroughly expensive affair. At least from Thailand, each international SMS is charged close to 9 Baht, which is roughly 25 cents USD.
Thus I’d always been on the lookout for a truly free alternative to this. Skype helped somewhat by providing low cost SMS at almost domestic rates (2-3 Baht per message). Somehow that still didn’t stop burning big holes in my pocket on a regular basis. Along came MobiK…
This excellent service was referred to me by a friend on Orkut, the social-networking site by Google. Having been thoroughly dismayed by various other so-called “free” SMS services like SMS.ac I approached it with a lot of apprehension. Little did I know that in no time my fears would get entirely replaced by utter amazement. What struck me first was the interface, which is totally designed in Flash. I admit that I’m a sucker for eye-candy GUI but definitely not at the cost of performance. Initially it did take a couple of seconds to pre-load the entire interface, but ever since it was one hell of a smooth journey. To start as you’ve to undergo a short registration process similar to almost every other site these days and …. that’s about it.
The moment you’re registered and have verified your email, you can start sending out SMS-es. For those paranoid about privacy, the service doesn’t send out your own phone number along with the messages and hence you stay safe behind your online identity.
The GUI is really smooth and divided into 3 panels laid out side by side. The first one contains a Contact / Address Book for storing your phone contacts. A Folders tab for organising your inbound/outbound messages can be found in the same location. The second panel constitutes a basic Editor for typing the messages. Message delivery is instantaneous and very reliable as long as the carrier is supported by MobiK. The third panel on the right is what makes MobiK tick – Advertisements.
That brings us to the most important question – is this really free? If we go by what MobiK promises, it IS. So who actually pays for the SMS-es? MobiK is partnered with select sponsors in a number of regions worldwide. Each message you send is appended with an ‘ad tag’ from their sponsors. MobiK will not deliver a text message unless there is an ‘ad sponsor’ in your region. To find more information on the supported destination countries view their coverage page.
MobiK’s FAQ provides you with some comprehensive answer to all such common queries.
All said and done – you still need a PC to send messages, right? So, what about the normal cell-phone users with no internet access? This brings us to another USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of MobiK.
MobiK can also be used on selected mobile phones that support Java ME (Java Micro Edition). To use MobiK you need to have a mobile phone that contains the Java ME runtime kernel. The primary benefits are that you can not only send out free SMS-es directly from your mobile phone, your contact list gets auto-synchronised and is available for use from the PC too.
Sounds good, eh? Sign-up for MobiK, free.