How to Send an International Text Message

How to Send an International Text Message

Sending international text messages (SMS) while you are abroad can be very expensive. If you are not careful, it can lead to an astronomical increase in your bills. But rest assured, you can keep in touch with your family and friends in other countries without emptying your bank account.

Many international text messaging apps and websites are free, meaning you won’t have to use your roaming. Turn off your mobile provider data or put your phone on Airplane Mode when you leave your country. Use Wi-Fi instead, and download one or two apps that provide international texting services. 

How to text an international number?

You can send an international SMS to a phone by using your carrier data roaming plan. The cost varies from one carrier to another. You are charged twice, when you send and when you receive international messages, so take that into account when you send texts the “old-school” way. The process is simple and it works just like a voice call. In the phone Messaging app, type your country’s exit code followed by the cell number you want to text. Then, write your message and press Send.

But the classic texting system has flaws too. Some users sending texts from the US to Europe and vice-versa mention that their messages don’t go through. The most common answer in this case is that the two data carriers aren’t compatible. This is explained by the fact that the US uses CDMA technology, while most of the world chooses GSM. If your message doesn’t go through, you should call your carrier to ask about the issue.

Fortunately, there are free ways to text internationally by using Wi-Fi. You just won’t be using the traditional texting service to do so. Instead, you must use an app like the ones you will find below.

Popular international texting apps

Wi-Fi options are more and more popular, mainly because they are free. All they require is a download and a sign-up, which sometimes is optional too. They work on Android, iPhone and Windows phones, making them easy to use by anyone. The only inconvenient is that both you and the family member or friend you want to contact must have them installed.

WhatsApp is used by billions of people because it allows users to send chats, pictures and videos to their contacts for free. Most smartphone owners already use the Facebook Messenger app chat, with its simple and intuitive design.

They are accompanied by WeChat, China’s no.1 chat app with similar functions to WhatsApp. Additionally, Skype uses one of the first VoIP services with cheap international SMS/text rates. And for those looking for stable connections there’s Viber, which uses Wi-Fi for free group chats and calls.

However, keep a close eye on your data plan, because some limited packages can be eaten up quickly with these services. Of course, these apps are dependent on a data connection. This means that the person you contact must be “online” in order to receive your messages.

How to text international numbers for free

Because not everyone likes to use chats, there remains a strong need to send real text messages straight to the phone number of a recipient. But this increases your SIM-card costs, so how can you text someone in another country for free?

An alternative to roaming and Wi-Fi-chugging apps is Rebtel. This provider uses an app to allow users to chat for free. The only requirements are that both you and the person you want to message have the app installed on your phone and sign up for an account (if you haven’t yet). This way, neither you nor the recipient have to pay roaming fees when chatting from anywhere in the world. And you won’t have to worry about signal drops, since the connection can be made through Wi-Fi.

How to send international SMS on iPhone

If you are an iPhone owner, you can send an international text message using a variety of apps. Some work more like chat services that use your data plan or Wi-Fi, while others assign a text-only phone number to every contact.

The go-to app for free international texting on an iPhone is iMessage. It’s not technically an SMS sending option, but it does the job when the person you are contacting has an iPhone. It works with a data plan and over Wi-Fi, so you can choose the setting you prefer. But remember to turn your Wi-Fi on and the mobile data plan off while abroad, so you won’t get charged insane rates.

How to text internationally for free via PC

And for those who prefer to use a web-based app to send free international SMS, there are a few options for PC. Services like SendSMSNow and TalkSMS let you send free international texts every day. The simple and intuitive design is easy to use, but it has a drawback. You either need to sign-up or you get a limited number of SMS per day (sometimes only 1).