Free SMSes from Gmail: what about Vodacom and Cell C?

Gmail recently enabled their free SMS service to South African users, but not all local operators are playing ball

By - March 14, 2012
Free Gmail SMS

Google has recently enabled their free SMS service to South African users, allowing local Gmail users to send free SMS messages to supported networks in South Africa and internationally.

In South Africa only MTN and 8ta is supported.

8.ta senior managing executive Amith Maharaj explained that they believe in bringing relevant and convenient services to customers and hence decided to support the Gmail SMS functionality.

Maharaj further explained that 8ta has a direct agreement with Google, and that 8ta customers can look forward to continued support whether on the 8ta network or roaming on MTN.

Vodacom and Cell C not supported

Attempts to send messages to Vodacom and Cell C returns an error message from Google saying that the number “is on a mobile carrier that is not supported at this time.”

This raises questions as to why Vodacom and Cell C are not supporting Gmail Google Chat SMS service.

Vodacom, curiously enough, supports this service in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Tanzania, but not in their operations in South Africa and Lesotho.

Vodacom spokesperson Richard Boorman said that they are currently investigating the possibility of providing this service. “We should be in a position to make a decision shortly,” said Boorman.

Cell C spokesperson Karin Fourie said that Cell C is in discussions with Google and that the company is currently testing the feasibility of the service.

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