160BY2.com a website by the SMS solution provider – smscountry is offering free SMS to any mobile phone in India if you allow them to send the contextual advertisement with them. From what I have read on their website, they seem to mimicking the Google Adwords model.
Nonetheless I think its a good option. College students and youths can use it to send unlimited text messages to their friends for free. However I feel there are 3 issues with this service:
1. They don’t allow to send sms/text directly from user’s mobile phone. One has to visit their website to send sms. I think technology is there which can make it possible to send sms from mobile. Probably they are first experimenting with this approach and if they get some advertisers hooked up, they will begin offering sms originating from mobiles to be delivered to the designated mobile without the need for website.
2. As a policy to prevent spams they offer option to opt out to receiver, but you need to again goto their website to opt-out. This can be very annoying for someone when he is not able to go on internet to opt-out. There should be someway to opt-out using sms itself.
3. They don’t allow sending SMS to a list. You can only send sms one by one to your friends, so that kinda puts you off from forwarding some joke to all of your friends.
I feel if they are able to tie-up with some operators like Hutch, Airtel on revenue sharing basis then they can really rake in the moolahs from advertisers and operators can offer a special SMS package to willing subscribers and subscribers can send unlimted SMS messagees for free. I see this will be a win-win situation for everybody.
Overall I think its a good service and I wish them all the luck. Currently their service is by invitation only. However you can reach their invitation page at – http://160by2.com/requestinvite.aspx and request for an invite.