How to get back at AT&T, just a little


Price gouging offends common decency. We see examples of it everywhere, from banking ATM and transfer fees, to ridiculous “exchange rate” fees when out of the country, to late fees and rate changes on credit cards. But one of my biggest gouging pet peeves involves the crazy prices AT&T (among others) charge for SMS services. (To get an idea of how ridiculous, check out this excellent article on the subject.)

Well, today, thanks to Google Voice, Yahoo mail, and a little tinkering, I now have a decent replacement working on my iPhone. For free. Yes, for free. Here is what you need to do:

1. Set up a Google Voice account.

2. Make sure SMS forwarding is on from your Google Voice to your Gmail account (under Settings – Voicemail & SMS)

3. Set up a Yahoo mail account, and configure your iPhone to connect to it. (the reason this is necessary is that Yahoo mail is the only one that will push notifications to the iPhone, the others need to be checked manually or at intervals)

4. Go to your gmail account, and (under Settings – Filters) set up a filter for any message from “*” to forward to your Yahoo account.

Et Voila! you now get SMS notifications on your iPhone, for free. There is only one drawback, and it is minor (for me, at least). To respond to an SMS, you will need to do so from your Gmail account (also set up on my iPhone) as the “from” address will not work for a reply from Yahoo’s servers.

On a side note, if AT&T were to decide to charge something reasonable for unlimited SMS (like 5 bucks a month even) I would happily pay it. But their $20 a month fees are outrageous. They only do this because iPhone users are trapped on their shitty network.