Paul Smart sat down today with Aaron Powers from Vyke to talk about their new 'FreeTxT' service. The concept behind this new service for your mobile phone is to reduce the cost of texting (SMS messages). Rather than be bound to your service providers tariff for messaging your friends, your install a little Java applet called VykePro (There is a VykeLite as well - but parts of the Vyke site suggests this does not support SMS - while other parts say it does!).
Once you've installed the applet you use that to send SMS messages instead of the usual phone application. If you are messaging another user that has the Vyke application installed and happens to be online the service is 'free' (see below). If the person is not online or doesn't have Vyke then your message is sent to the recipients usual SMS inbox, for which you will be charged 3p.
The Vyke application exchanges data with the Vyke servers via your mobiles data service. This is often not a cheap operation and there is no indication of the amount of data that will be sent - so although Vyke will be charging you a maximum of 3p per text - you need to understand how much your service provider is charging you for data. This should still represent a saving for most people on Pay-as-you-go.
Paul will of course be putting the FreeTxT service through it's paces in the coming weeks and we'll have a full report!
In the meantime you can read what Vyke have to say about FreeTxT (which is currently in Beta testing) on their web site
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