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International Texting: Is International SMS Messaging Free?

International Texting: Is International SMS Messaging Free?

The question of whether international text messaging is free or not comes up a lot. Some people think it’s an expensive service, others believe it is as cheap as domestic texting. In order to answer this question, one must first understand what constitutes “international” texts in the first place.

The term “international” usually refers to any text message that is sent from one country to another.

For example, if you are in the United States and you send a text message to a friend in Canada, that would be considered an international text.

Same for people who live in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, or North Korea and South Korea.

Okay, that last one seems pretty obvious – but the case isn’t always so clear-cut.

What about texting between Wales and Scotland? Lesotho and South Africa? Denmark and Greenland? Italy and The Vatican or San Marino?

Which begs the question;

Is texting internationally free?

Phone on a Table

There is no definitive answer to this question as it largely depends on the carrier and plans you are using.

Sorry 🙁

Here’s the scoop;

Typically, text messages sent internationally will incur a fee, although this fee is usually less than making an international phone call.

To avoid any surprises, be sure to check with your carrier before sending any texts overseas.

The good news is (for US carriers at least), you can receive messages for free, regardless of your location. So, if you’re only interested in receiving international texts, there is no need to worry about any fees!

In general, sending an international text will cost you between $0.25 and $0.50 per text message. Of course, this fee can vary depending on your carrier and plan.

If you’re looking for a way to avoid these fees, consider using a messaging app like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. These apps allow you to send messages over an internet connection, so you can avoid any international charges altogether!

Plus, you’ll be able to use these apps (and for most folks without them) to make free international calls over Wi-Fi as well as send free international SMS messages. What’s not to love about that?

Types of International Messages

Typing a Message

Fun fact; not all international texts are treated equally. In fact, there are three different types of international SMS:

  • Type One: Free International Texts
  • Type Two: Low-Cost International Texts
  • Type Three: Premium International Texts

So, which type of international text messaging are you using? And is it really free? Let’s take a closer look.

If you are sending a text from the United States to another country, it is most likely that you are using Type One service, which is free international texting.

This type of service is typically included in your cell phone plan, and it does not cost you anything extra to send texts internationally.

Type Two services are low-cost international texts, and they usually cost around a few cents per text. These types of services are typically offered by prepaid phone plans, and they allow you to send texts to over 190 countries around the world.

Lastly, there are premium international texting services, which are also known as Type Three services.

These types of services usually charge you a monthly fee, and they allow you to send texts to any country in the world.

Popular international texting apps

There are a number of popular international texting apps that allow you to send text messages to people in other countries. Some of the most popular apps include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram.


WhatsApp Logo

WhatsApp is the most popular messing app in the world and allows you to send free text messages to people in over 190 countries around the world – we use it every day. The app is easy to use and it works on both iPhones, Android, and Google smartphones.

Facebook Messenger

Messenger Logo

Facebook Messenger is another popular app that allows you to send text messages to your friends and family members – again, we use this every day, and so does half the world.

The app is available in hundreds of countries, on basically every form of smartphone and OS around the world and it is used by literally billions of people.

You might have used it once or twice.


Telegram Logo

Telegram is another popular messaging app that offers a variety of features such as group chats, file sharing, and voice and video calls. The app is available in over 190 countries around the world and it is used by millions of people every day.

If you are looking for a free app to send text messages internationally, WhatsApp is a good option. The app is easy to use and it works on both iPhones and Android smartphones.

If you are looking for an app that offers more features than just texting, Telegram is a good option. The app offers group chat, file sharing, and voice and video calls.

See Related: Best Sabbatical Destinations

Sending SMS Messages and Using Mobile Data Without Wi-Fi

There’s no assurance that a Wi-Fi internet connection will be accessible while you’re traveling.

Even if you have an overseas plan, the costs may get prohibitive, especially if you are a prolific text bandit. If your phone’s Wi-Fi is damaged, or the hotel is on the fritz, and text messaging is required outside of the United States, there are services available here.

International texting, calls, and data plans

Setting up an international phone calling and data plan is a relatively easy process. All you need to do is contact your service provider and let them know which country you will be traveling to.

They will then provide you with the necessary information needed to make calls and send texts over Wi-Fi. In addition, they may also offer international plans that include unlimited data usage.

With an international plan in place, you can rest assured that you will be able to keep in touch with family and friends while you are away from home.

So, whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, be sure to check with your service provider about their international plans before you go.

That way, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can stay connected no matter where in the world you may be.

Buy a SIM Card

Tapping on Phone Screen

To use your phone internationally separate from your own personal phone plan, you’ll need to buy a SIM card that will work in the country you’re visiting. You can buy a SIM card at most airports or in advance on Amazon.

  • This one from Orange gives you 1,000 texts to send across 30 European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Czechia, Poland, and more, for only $50 – perfect for your European grand tour.
  • This one from travel-friendly KnownRoaming is only $20 and will connect with local networks in over 200 countries without any roaming fees for calls or texts.
  • These Lycamobile USA Prepaid Sim Cards include a 30-day unlimited service plan with unlimited international texting and calls to over 50 countries for $19.

This is usually the most cost-effective way to use data, make international calls, and send texts while abroad. The main downside is that you’ll have to use a different phone number than your own.

To find the best prepaid SIM card for your needs, it’s important to first check which carrier operates in the country you’re visiting.

Do some research on rates and coverage so that you can compare and find the best option for you. Once you’ve chosen a carrier, purchase a SIM card and activate it according to the instructions. After your SIM card is activated, you can start using it immediately.

See Related: Travel Drones

Consider Purchasing a Global SIM Card

Holding  a Phone and Arms on a Bag

If you’re traveling to multiple countries, consider getting a global SIM card. Global SIM cards are becoming increasingly popular because they offer one phone number that works in over 190 countries.

You can buy a global SIM card online or at many electronics stores. With a global SIM card, you’ll have to pay for the data you use, but you’ll be able to use your phone number no matter where you are in the world.

Tips Before Your Trip

Group Holding Phones

Before you travel internationally, it’s important to check with your carrier to see what their rates are. Many carriers offer special international plans that can save you a lot of money.

Even if your carrier doesn’t have a special plan, they may be able to give you some tips on how to save money while using your phone abroad.

If you’re planning on using your phone a lot while you’re abroad, it might be worth considering an international data plan.

With an international data plan, you can use your phone’s data just like you would at home. You’ll be able to stay connected with family and friends, post pictures and updates to social media, and do all the things you love to do online.

Before you leave for your trip, make sure to research the best international data plans available. That way, you can find a plan that fits your needs and budget.

And when you’re ready to start using your phone internationally, simply follow the steps above and enjoy staying connected while you’re away from home.

See related: 9 Cell Phones That Can be Used in Canada

What are the drawbacks of international texting?

There are a few drawbacks to sending messages when you are abroad. First, it can be expensive if your carrier does not include it in their plans.

Second, you may not be able to text people who do not have an international texting plan with their carrier. Finally, you may have difficulty sending or receiving texts in some countries due to network coverage issues.

If you’re thinking about adding international texting to your mobile plan, be sure to check with your carrier first to find out what their policies are.

And if you’re traveling internationally, be sure to research the texting situation in the countries you’ll be visiting. That way, you can be prepared and know what to expect.

See Related: Best Travel Router

International texting for iPhone users

Holding a Black Phone

iPhone users have a few different options to send international SMS. One option is to use Apple’s iMessage service, which allows you to send text messages over WiFi.

Another option is to use a free text app from Google, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Telegram. These apps allow you to send text messages to people in over 190 countries around the world.

If you are an iPhone user and you are looking for a free app to send text messages internationally, WhatsApp is a good option. The app is easy to use and it works on both iPhones and Android smartphones.

See related: Best Credit Cards for International Travel: Our Top Picks

Is iMessage free internationally without Wi-Fi?

No, iMessage is not free internationally without Wi-Fi. The cost of international SMS depends on your coverage and plan.


Is international texting free?

The answer to this question depends on your carrier. Some carriers include international texting in their plans, while others charge per text. Check with your carrier to find out what their policy is.

What are the benefits of international texting?

There are a few benefits to international texting. First, it allows you to stay in touch with friends and family who live abroad. Second, it can be a cheaper alternative to making long-distance phone calls. Finally, it’s a convenient way to communicate when traveling internationally.

Do all carriers offer international texting?

No, not all carriers offer international texting. However, most major carriers do offer this service. If your carrier does not offer international texting, there are a few ways to work around this.

One option is to use a third-party texting app that offers international service. Another option is to buy a SIM card from a local carrier in the country you’re visiting. This will allow you to send and receive texts while you’re abroad.

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