With the number of Smartphone users and mobile broadband access gradually increasing Africa, Google has introduced a slightly low-tech e-mail solution in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.

The text messaging service which was introduced on Wednesday will enables feature phone owners expand their communications and contacts.

To use the Gmail SMS service, users will have to first register their phone with Google to link the email messaging service. Mail will be forwarded directly to the phone through SMS after that, and the forwarding can be disabled at any time. By texting commands, users can take action on their inbox and reply to emails through their text message client.

According to a report from Next web, “The implications of this are pretty big, as it means mobile Internet access isn’t required, and users don’t need a new-fangled Smartphone with 3G or WiFi capabilities either. For emerging markets, where iPhone and Android uptake may not be what it is in the Western world, not to mention limited Web access, Gmail SMS (available locally) is an interesting launch.”

Explaining how the service works, Product Manager of Emerging Markets at Google, Geva Rechav, said “Gmail SMS automatically forwards your emails as SMS text messages to your phone and you can respond by replying directly to the SMS. You can control the emails received by replying with commands such as MORE, PAUSE and RESUME. Additionally, compose a new email as an SMS and send to any email address recipient – who will find your message in the right email conversation thread.”

Here is a step by step procedure to activate the Gmail SMS:

• Log in to your Gmail account
• Click on your profile at the top of the page and then hit Account.
• Access your settings in the “Phone and SMS” section
• You will then have to link your mobile phone number to your account to be able to send and receive emails from your handset:
• When you click to send a verification code to your mobile phone, you then enter that number you receive into the box on the set-up page.
With Google SMS solution, consumers are not charged extra except for the messaging rate billed by the mobile operator.


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