Gmail users in Ghana who logged into the free email service would have noticed a pop-up message today:
The message read:
New! Free SMS in Gmail
Send free SMS directly from Gmail – just enter a phone number and click Enter. SMS replies come right to your Gmail inbox.
This service is now available for mobile phones in Ghana.
The free SMS can be sent directly from within Gmail once the user logs in, as seen from the screenshot below:
According to Google:
Sending a message is free from Gmail to any phone. When replying with an SMS from phone to Gmail, you will be charged a regular SMS rate by your mobile provider. Gmail SMS is currently available in Ghana with MTN, Zain, Tigo and Kasapa.
However, efforts to try out the new service on MTN, Zain and Vodafone have so far failed as can be seen from the screenshot below. The numbers were whitened due to privacy concerns but the network codes can be clearly identified:
Gmail is a free, advertising-supported webmail, POP3, and IMAP service provided by Google.
UPDATE: Google has since fixed the bug.