We've all been there. You need to send a text to your friend or family member and you've realised that you've no credit on your phone or that your battery has gone flat. In the past this would have been really annoying but nowadays, thanks to Scratchr.org, providing you have access to the Internet you can send a message to your friend's phone free of charge. Simply enter your friend's mobile number and your message (up to 160 character in length) into the box above, click send, and away you go.
Since the inception of GSM (Global System of Mobile communication), SMS has been massively popular. At its peak, it has been calculated that 80% of all mobile phone users were also active SMS users, therefor making SMS the most widely used data communications system in the world with around three and a half billion users. With this level of popularity, it makes sense that people should be able to send a free text message over the Web in a similar fashion to sending an email.
Although mobile phone messaging is growing as a whole, it's slowly becoming more and more challenged by software applications such as WhatsApp or BBM on the Blackberry. This is due of course to the massive rise of smart phones in the last few years, coupled with extremely attractive data plans on both prepaid (pay as you go) and contract (pay monthly) tariffs. The rise of 3G and 4G data connections, particularly in the UK has meant that vast amounts of people now have the Internet at their fingertips literally 24/7. It's much easier to snap a photo with your phone, type a quick free message and fire it off with WhatsApp than it was to send even a simple text message a few years ago on something like a Nokia 3310.
It's not all doom and gloom for the old SMS text message though because it is still vastly popular and its use will no doubt continue to increase outside of the western world. In developing countries, SMS is still seen as something a little bit special and the thought of being able to send a free SMS in a split-second is undoubtedly still quite exciting. In the UK, free (or inclusive) text messages are still very much alive and kicking with some monthly contracts offering up to 3000 inclusive SMS messages every month on tariffs that in some cases may cost only 10 or 15 pounds each month.
It's often quoted that free texting in the UK was the fore-runner to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. In the present day it's impossible to walk down the street without seeing a teenager with their head down, updating their Facebook status or retweeting something funny they've read online. Back in the day they would have still been glued to their phone but they would have been, without a doubt, sending an SMS text message rather than playing around with Social Media. Here at Scratchr.org we salute the humble text message, may its glory days never be forgotten.
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