Remember when texting was all the craze? Parents would get these enormous cell phone bills and wonder how their children could possibly use their phones enough to generate those kinds of fees. Much of it came from text messaging, before carriers offered text messaging bundles. They’ve since done that, and for a while it seemed that everyone was SMSing. Now all I hear from smartphone users is how much they loathe SMS. BlackBerry users in particular tend to prefer BBM, though with OS 5.0 the threaded SMS makes communicating via that medium a bit more palatable. In any case, if you’ve kicked your unlimited SMS plan to the curb, there might be an answer for you. Kik is a service that offers unlimited SMS — though there’s a bit of a catch.
Kik is essentially another mobile instant messaging service, since it uses your data plan to convey messages. The difference, however, is that it is compatible with SMS, so that you can communicate with Kik users and non-Kik users alike. Kik users can send unlimited messages to each other, exactly like they would with any other IM client. It’s when the Kik to non-Kik comes into play that we see the catch. Each Kik user gets 50 free SMS credits per month. These can be used to send messages to and receive messages from non-Kik users. Fifty SMS is not a lot, but anything free is good. In order to communicate via Kik with a non-Kik user, you have to first send message to your friend, at which point Kik assigns you a number. That number is for communication with that friend. It sounds a bit roundabout, but hey, free SMS. Users can purchase additional SMS credits if they want to communicate more. The upside is that it costs much less than a carrier would charge. It costs 99 cents for 100 credits, $2.99 for 500 credits, or $4.99 for 1,000 credits. You can get the Kik client at App World.
Joe Pawlikowski is the Senior Editor at MobileMoo.com and has been covering the mobile industry full time since 2007. When he's not writing about the tech scene, he can be found discussing his personal love - baseball (and more specifically the New York Yankees) as well as writing on his personal blog.