Thursday, December 1, 2011

JaxtrSMS: Free SMS

I remember the time when the first internet cafe opened in Naga City sometime in 1998. I was then an excited fifth grade student who had just signed up for his first e-mail account in HoTMaiL. Later, I would find out that Hotmail was the first free web-based e-mail service, founded by Indian IT Entrepreneur Sabeer Bhatia. Thirteen years later, Sabeer is back with what he claims is the next big thing after Hotmail: JaxtrSMS, "The World's First Free and Open Texting Application."

According to Sabeer, most free SMS applications usually work only in phones operating on the same platform or require that the same app be installed in both the sending and the receiving phones. JaxtrSMS, however, is a cross-platform application that allows a user to send text messages to any mobile phone in the world for free, even if the app isn't installed in the receiver's phone. The message is received on the other end just like any ordinary text message. Sending the SMS through the app is free, but the phone must have access to an internet connection.

Although I have always been wary about downloading applications onto my cell phone, the fifth grader in me couldn't let this one pass. I downloaded the app and tried sending messages to my sister in Singapore. The application took some time to successfully send the SMS, but it worked. (I could see my phone bill going down.)

What is interesting, however, is that free SMS has been here for some time. (Chikka, BBM, etc.) Eventually, more and more applications like JaxtrSMS will come out with newer and better features. In the texting capital of the world, which incidentally has one of the highest SMS rates in the region, will JaxtrSMS etcetera capture the attention of the country's two big telcos? Will the government make a sincere effort to study how Globe and PLDT(-Digitel) come up with their SMS rates and charges? If SMS is based on technology, and technology only gets better over time, why aren't our SMS rates going down?

C M Prado, Entry # 1

1 comment: