Text messages are hugely popular – 64% of consumers prefer texting over email, voice calls or direct mail. For businesses, SMS presents several advantages – it's instant, reliable, cost-effective compared to phone calls, and it allows for easy mass communication.
Business SMS texts are ideal for sending PIN codes, marketing promotions, order confirmations, delivery updates and appointment reminders. However, business text messaging should connect and resonate with customers without being too invasive (as SMS is a fairly personal channel). This can be done using the correct language and tone and by sending SMS at the right times.
Typically, texts are transmitted over a cellular network, but we often get asked whether it's possible to send SMS over WiFi.
Can I send SMS over WiFi?
Yes, it's certainly possible to send SMS over WiFi. However, it depends on which type of mobile phone you have and which cellular network provider you use (whether they support WiFi calling or texting). You'll also need to use a third-party app for texting – there are different solutions available for personal and business use (such as SMS marketing).
Why should I consider sending SMS over a WiFi Network?
The traditional way to send text messages is from phone to phone via a mobile network. There are some privacy concerns with this method, and WiFi calling is generally more secure as it's encrypted end-to-end.
Traditional texts can be costly depending on your mobile carrier's plan, plus many geographical regions don't have great quality cellular coverage. These are additional reasons why business owners and marketers look into an internet-based alternative.
How to send SMS messages over WiFi
There are three ways to send SMS over WiFi. If you're sending SMS to the same device as the one you're using, you can use a built-in mechanism (on both iOS and Android devices) to do this over WiFi.
You can also send text messages using a VoIP number. Or you can use a third-party messaging app. Let's look at these methods more closely...
1. Sending SMS messages over WiFi using an iPhone
The built-in messaging app for iPhones is iMessage. Texts sent between iPhone users using this native app are sent over the internet – there's no need for a cell phone reception. (It's also free to send text messages in this way).
iMessage has a unique range of features that let you do more with text messages. As well as regular text conversations, you can decorate messages with stickers, have group chats, share music and send cash, all within the app itself.
To send texts over WiFi with iMessage, simply open Messages, tap the 'Compose' button, tap on a contact name, type your message and then tap the ‘send’ arrow. Your message content will be contained in a blue bubble if you're using iMessage (WiFi texting), or it'll be green if you're using SMS.
Pros – iMessage enables you to send text messages over WiFi calling at no cost, providing you're texting other iPhone users.
Cons – you can't text Android users with this method, and you must use an iOS device yourself.
2. Sending text messages over WiFi using an Android phone
It can be tricky to send an SMS over WiFi with Android phones. WiFi calling isn't available on all brands of Android devices; hence many users eventually turn to third-party apps (more on this later).
To use WiFi calling for Android, you'll need to activate this option via the phone settings or native messaging app settings.
Pros – it might be possible if you use an Android device that supports WiFi calling. If so, you can save money by not paying cell phone plan fees.
- Cons – you can only text other Android users. Not all Android devices support WiFi calling.
3. Sending messages via VoIP texting
VoIP texting enables you to use WiFi to send text messages. You'll need to subscribe to an SMS service provider, such as Messente, to use VoIP. Your service provider connects with relevant mobile network carriers to ensure your texts are delivered to your recipients.
Although your text will be sent using an internet connection, it'll be received over a cell network. Your recipients won’t necessarily need a WiFi connection to read your message.
Pros – an SMS service provider enables you to send bulk SMS (where you can send a single text to hundreds or thousands of recipients simultaneously.) It also gives you platform independence – it doesn't matter which mobile phone you've got or which carrier you're with. An SMS service will also offer messaging tools to make your campaigns more professional and effective.
Cons – some SMS providers charge a subscription and setup fees (not Messente though – we offer Pay As You Go).
4. Sending SMS messages over WiFi with third-party messaging apps
Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Line, Telegram, Facebook Messenger and WeChat all use Wi Fi calling to transmit text messages.
These types of internet-based apps are free to download and use. However, in their ‘free’ form, they’re more suited to personal use rather than business. Typically, you can only send messages to others using the same app (You can't send a message from WhatsApp to a Facebook Messenger user, for instance).
And although you can have group chats and send a message to multiple recipients, everyone in that group can respond. That's not ideal when you're sending out a business message.
Some apps, such as WhatsApp and Viber, offer special business plans that allow you to brand messages with your logo and set up automated messaging. The pricing for business messaging using third-party apps varies and can be somewhat complicated.
For example, WhatsApp lets you send 1,000 messages every month for free but then charges two types of prices for user-initiated or business-initiated conversations (which vary by destination country). With Viber, you need to use an official partner for business messaging.
Pros – third-party messaging apps are used by billions of people worldwide, which means your audience is likely to be using at least one of them. If you choose a business plan, you can brand your messages and enhance the customer experience through conversational messaging.
- Cons – the pricing can be complicated, group messaging works differently to SMS, and not all of your customers will be using the same app. (But almost everyone has access to SMS with it being a native app on their mobile device).
Sending SMS over WiFi
Privacy concerns, poor phone signals, and costly cell plan fees are the main reasons it makes sense to send text messages over WiFi. There are three main ways to do this, each with pros and cons.
For businesses, the best options are to use VoIP texting or a third-party app with a business plan, such as Viber or WhatsApp. The latter requires your audience to install that app on their mobile phone. In contrast, VoIP texting uses SMS technology and delivers messages via carrier networks directly to your recipients' native messaging app.
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