Saturday, October 16, 2010

Texting To The Philipphines

The Philippines like so many countries in East Asia and South East Asia, texting is a less-costly and efficient means of communicating in-country and abroad. Most of us in the West, would simply just grab our landline or cell phone and call up whoever we wanted to and think very little about the cost of it all, until of course we looked at the telephone bill closely.

SMS or texting is a more efficient way to go for many of us, not only because overwhelmingly that is the way the majority of cell phone users in the Philippines communicate. The cost for a voice call for most foreigners or Westerners is an expense that we could bear if we had to, but learning to send and receive texts at a fair price is a bette way to go.

Many carriers in your home country will give you international texting for a few dollars more a month and some mobile phone plans include unlimited international texting. For example Cricket Wireless will give you unlimited texting to the Philippines for $70 a month. Some have reported difficulties texting to the Philippines from the United States using AT&T’s and Verizon’s network, so you may want to avoid these two U.S. wireless carriers.

As wireless carriers go, Metro PCS is my favorite due to no-contract, no-guessing what your bill going to be, because the taxes are included in your monthly bill, so no surprises and for about $50.00 a month, you can get unlimited voice and unlimited worldwide texting.

Smart Wireless offers the USB, Plug-N-Talk that comes with a earpiece and microphone and you can purchase a load or refill in Pesos online from PlugNTalkLoad for $40.00 for the USB device and loads in various amounts. You get a SIM (subscriber identity module) card with a Smart Cell Phone number. So, when you use it from the States, the person you're calling in the Philippines, sees a local Philippines number. You plug it in to your computer and it gives you direct VOIP calls to a mobile phone in the Philippines for P7.50 to P8.50 a minute. There are no charges for receiving calls or texts to your Smart Plug-N-Talk device. Text messages are about P1.50 to P3.00 per text, depending on time of day sent.

Yahoo Messenger is a popular instant messaging platform used by many in the Philippines and allows IM from a PC or mobile phone. Yahoo Messenger is widely popular in the Philippines and most of your friends and relatives will have some familiarity with how to use it.

Chikka is an instant messenger that enables you to send free text messages to cell phones anywhere in the Philippines. There are two versions of Chikka: Version 4 allows you to text from a mobile to a mobile and Version 5 allows you to text from your PC only. It doesn’t matter if they have Globe, Smart or Sun as their carrier, it is free for them to receive your text messages.

You can even send text messages from your PC or mobile phone to someone in the Philippines, but if they were to send you a text, depending on who they have as their carrier and the time of day that they text you, the cost varies between P1.00 and 2.50 per text. Depending on how much the person you are texting needs to reply back to you, it may be cheaper for them to get a bucket of Chikkas to text you back. A bucket of Chikkas can be as low as P5 for 10 messages or P10 for 20 messages.

Many of the people whom I text in the Philippines own computers but are often away from their computers when I need to text them and then there is probably an equal number of friends when I come to the States, that don’t have computers, but have cell phones capable of receiving my texts. So, when you decide on which platform best suits you and the person you’re communicating with, bear that in mind.

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