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Text Messaging Apps vs SMS

Are you paying too much for text messages? Do you have huge overage charges because you went over your plan's SMS limit? Well, you may be able to save a few bucks by downloading a free text messaging app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

What's so great about Messaging Apps?

Text messaging apps are growing both in popularity and number. This has led to mobile applications with more features than ever. However, some wireless users are limited as a result of their wireless plan. Some people, especially pre-paid cell phone users, are only allotted a limited number of text messages per month.

Messaging Apps Have More Features

Most text messaging apps, such as GroupMe, allow mobile users not only to send messages to one another. Smart phone users can also engage in group chats, share files, and connect their favorite social networks to their messaging app. These are features that were never possible using the limited capabilities of conventional SMS.

Save Money with no SMS Add-On Charges

Most wireless plans with contracts include a limited amount of SMS text messages. These texting plans or add-ons can cost anywhere from $20 to $30. However, if you have a smart phone connected to Wifi, texting applications may provide you with the same convenience at no additional cost.

Text message apps send messages over data connections, unlike text messages. On the other hand, regular text messages are sent from one wireless device to another through an SMS gateway. For some reason, wireless providers charge extra for SMS.

Messaging Apps Are More Secure

Another great feature of text messaging apps is security. In the U.S., wireless carriers are required to share customer data (including messaging and phone records) when requested by law enforcement officials. What do this mean? Yes, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T share your communication information with the U.S. government.

However, U.S. Internet companies are not bound to the same laws. In fact, an article by NBC News highlights the frustration of the DEA and FBI with Apple's iMessage application. Because of iMessage's advanced encryption algorithms, the U.S. law enforcement agencies are often unable to listen in on communications sent by the mobile app. Because of the laws regarding Internet communication data, Apple legally was able to refuse handing over user communication data.

Beware of Data Usage

If you're not connected to the Internet via Wifi, be sure you watch your cell phone data usage. Text messaging apps use nearly twice the amount of bandwidth as SMS, so your data usage could get much larger. Mobile applications that encrypt communication information can potentially increase data usage exponentially, leading to the dreaded overage fees.

iPhone users connected via Wifi can rest easily. An iPhone will attempt to use Wifi instead of wireless data in order to increase transmission efficiency.