Mon, 07 Aug 2000

E-mail on the move with Short Message Service

By Lim Tri Santosa

BANDUNG (JP): GSM is an international standard for digital mobile telephones. It is horrendously popular in Europe and Asia, where you can take your mobile telephone into any participating area and instantly your telephone will work no matter what country or network it is. No fuss, everything is automatic. GSM requires a transmitter every five kilometers, so it is not suitable for low-population areas like America and Africa.

GSM technology is moving toward more clever cellular phones. I believe SMS is the key for the next years of mobile applications. Because they are quick, and you do not need a computer, call it a palmtop or a handheld, for sending a message.

Short Message Service (SMS) is a system that allows 160- character text messages to be passed to and from GSM mobile phones using the control channels. This means that a text message can get through even when a call is in process. SMS messages are sent on a different waveband than voice, fax or data calls so you will not get a network busy signal in peak usage times.

This is a useful way of contacting people, especially when their cell phones are switched off. Normally SMS is just used to let you know that you have voicemail, but you can use it for anything; news headlines, traffic reports, foreign exchanges and even e-mails. Basically, you can send SMS messages to any GSM phone anywhere in the world.

SMS is a store-and-forward service. Short messages are not sent directly from sender to recipient, but always via an SMS Center (SMSC). Each mobile telephone network that supports SMS has one or more messaging centers. Satelindo SMSC is 081615 and Telkomsel is 081100000. All in all, SMS is a cheap effective way to communicate and allow easy realtime information to be transmitted to you. There are many services out there, but who to use? That is where we come in. Try out the following services. They are free so use them to your advantage.

Sending SMS e-mail

I am not talking about Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) service, because WAP service is expensive. Besides, the variety of cell phones that support WAP is very limited and expensive. I want to share my experience with The Jakarta Post readers; even with conventional GSM cell phones and cheap SMS service, we are able to send e-mails while on the move

Beware Technologies Company, which is supported by Telecom Italia Mobile SMS Gateway, gives each member a kind of mobility with a free public Internet gateway for SMS called eXcell. No extra hardware needs to be bought, nor any software installed. There is no "logging on". No time or money is wasted while one waits to get connected to an Internet Service Provider by powering up a notebook, dials in and waits. All that is need is just an SMS compatible handset connected to GSM network.

No subscription is required to use the gateway and the service is open 24 hours a day. While you are on the run, from an airport, from a train, from your car lost inside a traffic jam, your GSM cellular phone always keeps you in touch with the Internet world. eXcell links your GSM cell phones to the Internet at the cost of a simple SMS.

Either Satelindo (both postpaid and prepaid subscribers) or Telkomsel (only postpaid subscribers) can use this free service. I have not any chance to practice through Excellcomindo yet. The key is that both your SIM card and GSM Network must have the facility of sending SMS. No need to worry, even though this SMS gateway is located in Italy, your SMS charge (either Satelindo or Telkomsel) is still for local SMS charge.

eXcell offers a free service to GSM users, to let them send e- mail from their cell phones. Log onto the eXcell server (, and configure your own profile. Users can customize their own e-mail address, e-mail signature, return address and generally everything needed to make their messages as personal and professional as possible.

How to Use

Registering on eXcell is a quick and easy operation; just send an SMS from your GSM cell phone to eXcell gateway phone number (+393334774753). The SMS should start with the word PASS (or PASSWORD), followed by a space, and then by your chosen password. Example: PASS LIMTRI

Do not configure +393334774753 as SMSC in your GSM phone. The eXcell gateway is not a message center address. Also do not change the message type command on your cell phone into "e-mail"; keep using the default "text" type, just like when you send a message to a friend's cell phone. As soon as the gateway has received your SMS, a matter of a few seconds or minutes, you will be able to log in onto eXcell server, using your full GSM phone number (+6281xxxxxxxx) and the password you choose. Remember to use your full phone number complete with international prefix code as above.

Once you logged on, proceed by filling up your e-mail address and play around with all customization options. Most of the configuration can also be done via SMS; instruction syntax commands are available once registered. Just send an SMS to +393334774753 with the following basic syntax: EMA recipient@domain .subject .messagebody. Example: .Hello there .This is a test

Then will receive an e-mail with subject: Hello there and message body: This is a test. The best thing is you can send e-mail bearing your original e-mail address, thus your recipient automatically can reply to your original e-mail address. A copy of every e-mail that you send with this SMS service will always sent to your e-mail address, if the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) option is enabled in your profile.

By the way, EMA is a short of EMAIL. Put it simply, the first word in the SMS e-mail sending must always be EMA (or EMAIL). If not, your recipient will not receive your SMS email messages. If the first character after the recipient address is a dot (.), eXcell will assume that the text following the next dot is the subject. The subject thus cannot contain any dots in the middle or ending of the subject sentence. At the bottom of the e-mail, your full GSM phone number will be shown. You can avoid this by the way of the phone anonymizer (SMS message syntax: ANON ON).

If you often send e-mail to groups of people, then you should try the aliases facility. An alias is like a mailing list; it defines a name for a list of e-mail addresses. An alias can contain from one up to 150 e-mail addresses.

Simply, use the alias name in place of the recipient e-mail address, and your messages will be sent to all the people in the list. That is the way you can economize the 160-character capacity to be used efficiently. For example, if you create an alias called OFFICE containing the e-mail addresses of your coworkers, then you can send e-mail to your office by simply sending: EMA OFFICE .subject .messagebody

As we have seen through the growth of mobile-phone usage, an ever-increasing number of people want to keep in touch when away from the home or the office.

Likewise, more and more people are using the Internet to keep in touch by e-mail. eXcell for the first time brings the two technologies together as an affordable service suitable for GSM SMS subscribers. The best thing is this GSM SMS e-mail sending can be used in Indonesia without any daily amount restrictions as long as your cell phone can send SMS, then voila ... you are connected to the Internet world via e-mail!

The writer's email address is