There are two ways of doing this: One is to find an SMS gateway that allows you to send SMS messages (used to be lots of them for free, but they all went broke. You'll probably have to pay for them now).
The other way, and I have no idea if it works in your country, is to see if your mobile phone provider allows you to receive emails as SMS. Using Telefonica in Spain, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, and phonenumber receives it as an SMS, apparently for free.
P.S.: Don't make too much fuss over option 2 in case Telefonica find out about it and turn it off! ;)
The site is meant to send text messages to anyone who signs up. So they will have all different mobile phone providers.
Does that mean my only option is to find an SMS gateway?
I don't know anything about this subject.
- What is an SMS gateway?
- How do you find a good one?
- What do they typically charge?
- Does my site server setup matter? (Apache & php).
Basically, the "gateway" would be the provider that connects to telecom network with authorisation to send SMS.
Which country are you in? AFAIK, in the EU there are only two independent gateways - Mobileway, and one other who I forget, and may even have gone under by now.
You can get also hook up with a reseller, who will buy SMS wholesale from the telecom networks and resell it. (Mobileway is directly connected into the network I believe). These guys work on the same theory as discount telephone call providers, they will buy a million SMS at a time. Which to go for depends on the quantity (lower amount reseller, higher amount gateway. Hey, get high enough, just become a reseller!)
The price would fluctuate from provider to provider, but is normally quite a bit cheaper than a normal SMS phone to phone.
And no, the server setup shouldn't matter - you are just sending the SMS to their network which receives it and resends it. We used to do simply by connecting the form action to their script and redirecting to our "thanks" page.
The iMode phones (and most other phones in Japan) will accept e-mail messages directly. There is no need for an SMS gateway for those.
GPRS enabled? Sure, but how many in Europe have one of those? And is it even up and running in the US?
Thank you everyone (this is enlightening)
I am in the UK
How much should I expect to pay the gateway?
I doubt if the site will send thousands of text messages, perhaps 5 or 10 per week. Would I pay per text or per month or what?
Many cell phones will accept text messages sent to email@example.com, or something similar. Look on your cell phone provider's web site for more information. For example, AT&T Wireless accepts messages of the form: firstname.lastname@example.org. Then you just need some way of sending email to that address from your pda.
I just set up something that pings my web servers and if it gets no response for five minutes, it sends a text message to my cell phone.
i have tried many and the one that I use with global coverage.. is www.smsgui.com
also for pda access I think its www.smsgui.com/pda/