Maybe this will get even more people to use SMS. Alltel has announced a partnership with Messaging International Plc to provide a text-to-landline service. This is exactly what it sounds like. You can tap out an SMS and instead of sending it for another mobile user to view, you send it to a landline for the recipient to hear. The landline user can then send a voice message back to the mobile user, which will be converted into a text message.
This seems to be useful when it’s inappropriate to talk for a mobile user. Otherwise, why not just call the landline? Anyway, there’s an alert for the mobile user, which lets them know whether they reached a live person or a voicemail service. Texting a landline costs the same as a standard text message, and presumably there’s a charge for the status message, too.
“The Text-to-Landline application complements our existing Axcess Voice2TXT application, which quickly converts incoming voicemails to text messages in the customer’s inbox and also allows customers to store and forward converted voicemails as regular text messages,” said Craig Kirkland, director of messaging and voice services for Alltel Wireless. Now voicemail messages left by landline customers can be answered by replying to the text message enabling two-way data communication between landline and wireless phone users.
Just a couple of issues to note with this service.
1) The number of landlines in use is decreasing. This service is good for now, but as we see more and more people going cell-only, normal SMS will suffice.
2) There’s a bit of room for annoyance here. For instance, when I compose an SMS on my BlackBerry, it gives me the option to send to the person’s mobile or home phone (if I have a home phone number listed). While drunk at 2 a.m., I can see sending it to the wrong place. And then it rings and wakes up anyone in the house.
Other than that, this is a pretty standard evolution for messaging.