Texting Apps: Can You Kiss Your SMS Plan Goodbye?

Are you paying for a data plan for your smartphone and a text plan, too? Then you should know something about texting that may make you hop for joy: there’s an app for that!

And it’s free.

Each major mobile platform now offers at least one free texting app that lets you send as many text (SMS) and multimedia (MMS) messages as you want for free as long as you have a data plan. You talk instantly back and forth just like you do with texting except it’s over the Internet, not through your mobile provider. Think of it as instant messaging (IM) or chat for your phone. Whether you use your contact list, email addresses, usernames or other ID to connect depends on your app.

With unlimited texting plans from mobile carriers going for $20-$30 a month, your savings can really add up by using a free app. Here’s how to give it a try:

Android users have many free third-party choices, including two user favorites: IMO and GO SMS Pro. GO SMS Pro has a lot of features, including Facebook Chat, scheduled SMS, folders and more. Apple’s iMessage offers unlimited texting to other Apple devices (you need to update your operating system to OS5 to use it) and is similar to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which allows free BlackBerry to BlackBerry chat plus other options and has been loved by its users for a while. iMessage and Blackberry Messenger each have a super useful feature: they notify you when someone is typing a response.

iMessage, Yahoo! Messenger for Mobile and other apps also allow you to continue your conversation on another device. This means you can start chatting on your smartphone and continue on your computer or tablet.

How big a splash could free texting make in the mobile market pond? When you consider that Americans send a couple trillion texts a year and carriers have been earning about 80 cents on the dollar for SMS plans, carriers could get pretty wet!