Why I am being billed for text messages sent / received while on my home's Wi-Fi?
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My question pretty much says it all. "Why I am being billed for text messages sent / received while on my home's Wi-Fi?" My wife is sitting here in our living room, connected to Wi-Fi yet her text messages show up on the Details and they're being counted toward our limits. Why is that? If the phone is using Wi-Fi, I was lead to believe it would be outside of the billable activities.

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  • Plain text messages do not use Wi-Fi. They actually fit between voice calls. MMS, or Picture Messages use data to send & receive the pictures.

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  • SMS isn't sent over data, so it can't' go over Wifi. Even though MMS is over data I don't think that can go out purely over Wifi either.

    With that said, you can send SMS over Wifi, but you have to use an app like Google Voice, or GoSMS. Google Voice will give you a new phone number and send all SMS over Wifi/cell data, but can't handle MMS due to anti-competitive behavior of the big carriers. GoSMS will send both, but will only send over Wifi/data to another GoSMS user (as far as I can tell), otherwise it will go over the cell network. I might be wrong about GoSMS but they don't make it easy to figure out the details and based on how SMS/MMS work that would make sense to me.

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  • Both Bruce and Seth are correct (deja vu). SMS messages (text) are sent through the voice network, however, you may use a third party app to send "text" messages through a data connection  (i.e. your home's wi-fi network).

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  • I find that really odd when I get text messages on my WiFi only iPad on the WiFi obviously free. When the same text pops up on my iPhone, it’s counted towards my limits. WiFi is WiFi. If my iPad can get it, my pone should too. 

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  • Hey Dianna, 

    sYou're right! It just depends on the sender. If they're sending an iMessage that you get on both your iPad and your iPhone (blue bubbles) it's 100% free on WiFi and we do not charge for that. If you sync your text messages with your iPad (green bubbles), it's only charged the once, when it gets delivered to your phone.

    In terms of not counting texts and calls towards your limits when you're on WiFi, your router only replaces the first step in a really big cellular network designed to get those messages to you. Our network providers charge us for those messages even when delivered over WiFI, so we pass that cost to you.

    You can avoid this by using more iMessage (blue bubble) text messages as well as messaging apps that don't use cell phone infrastructure (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, GroupMe, Hangouts) as those are not charged by our network partners, so they're not billed against your limits.

    Does that make sense? If not, let me know and I'll see if I can describe it another way.

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  • I have realized that blue bubbles are iPhone texts. The green bubbles are from android phones or “dumb phones”. So what you’re telling me is that I need to convince my friends to change to iPhones because they Apple has a more substantial OS. Interesting, but it still feels like it’s not fair. 

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  • I want to be clear: while there is a weird shaming of "green bubble" users going on in some internet circles, But that's not something we do. We do believe heavily in choice in telecom, including choice of which kind of phone you'd like to use and which messaging app to use.

    To be clear, it's probably not fair that iMessages, a nice built-in app that integrates SMS with the data service, doesn't count towards text messages. But then, neither does the Android equivalent of iMessage, called RCS. While RCS is not nearly as universal as iMessage when it comes to cross-device compatibility (including no RCS support on iPhones, and only rumors that it's planned), it's otherwise identical.

    Once RCS gets to most Android phones, those users will see a drop in their Ting bill, as we stop charging them for texts -- the messages don't count as texts -- and only see a small, usually negligible increase in their data usage.

    Till that day comes, we're stuck in this weird "some stuff works, some stuff doesn't" limbo that third-party messaging apps like Facebook Messenger are trying to close.

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  • My understanding is that day has finally come. Yesterday they rolled out RCS.  I've read instructions on how to turn it on, but I'm unclear if once I do I'll still be able to send SMS messages when I don't have wifi.  Basically, will I be forced to turn data on to send a text message when I'm not in an area with wifi?

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  • RCS is like iMessage in that it will send the information first by a data connection and if that is not available it would send it as a standard text message. I haven't had a chance to play with RCS messaging yet but I believe that when you are sending a message over data there is a notification on-screen letting you know it is a chat. If you don't see that and send a message it will send as a SMS and be put towards the message usage. 

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  • Bryce is exactly right here. If there's ANY breakdown in the RCS process (including the other person not having/using/being in coverage of RCS), it defaults to a billable SMS text message. That's by design.

    If you don't have WiFi, it'll use your data connection to try and confirm RCS with the recipient. If you don't have a data connection (WiFi or network), you cannot use RCS.

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