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[liberationtech] bulk sms

Chris Csikszentmihalyi robotic at
Fri Jan 2 15:05:15 PST 2015

It's up to Richard to help us to help him at this point, like by describing
what "bulk" means.

A raspi with a gsm modem yields only a few texts per minute, typically, and
will cost extra to place sms out-of-network with only one brand of sim.  At
least with Nathan's option you can use multi-sim phones, which are now very
common, with different sims for different carriers.

Bulk receiving is a whole other issue, in that case cross-carrier costs are
pushed to the user, which can reduce participation.  With multi-sim phones
(or multiple raspis or gsm sticks) you'd have to give multiple numbers.
These are some of the advantage of aggregators; their cost is less than
what individuals usually pay for SMS and it's the same across carriers, and
they can allow you to piggyback off a shared shortcode.

Anyway, Richard, you have options.  Let us know if you want any more info.

On Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 1:57 PM, ITechGeek <itg at> wrote:

> Instead of using an Android gateway, I would go w/ a Raspberry Pi,
> probably a little easier for customized development (and you can use this
> as a starter):
> (Note this guy's configuration violates most carriers TOS).  Also if you
> decide to go this route, some of the US carriers including unlimited text
> to other countries, so you might be able to set-up the system here if not
> sending in excess of their "unlimited" definition.
> (Chart at bottom)
> And if you will be working at a village level and you can get a link into
> the village (maybe sat?), you can always look into running your own cell
> system.
> You can order blank sim cards and a programmer to program your own (I
> believe there is a place online you can get them preprogrammed as well) and
> only requires a GSM handset that is unlocked.
> Hard to run it in the US (You know the whole FCC thing), but every so
> often groups will get a special event license for operation.  A friend
> set-up it up at HOPE Conference a few yrs back, the largest install of
> OpenBTS I think was at Burning Man last yr or the yr before, and I've heard
> of groups trying to use them in villages in Africa & Asia where the local
> cell service is spotty or non-existent.  At Burning Man they connected to
> the rest of the world through voip over a vsat link (And you can do more
> complicated systems where you can have msgs queued on either end and only
> bring up the sat link a few times of day for msgs leaving the area).
> And if you want to get really exotic (like little to no cell coverage),
>  Inmarsat has
> which allows free incoming text (from Internet or regular SMS) and Delorme
> Inreach (I actually have one of these on order) uses the Iridium sat
> network which has plans that include unlimited text (a more expensive
> option).  Neither of these would be good for sending msgs to large groups
> of people unless your organization has some SERIOUS dough.  Also I haven't
> looked at either to see how "unlimited text messages" are defined.
> There are many options depending on your use case.
> If you might be willing to provide a use case we might be able to provide
> you some information specific to that set-up (if it's of a sensitive
> nature, you can always email me directly and my GPG key is listed in my
> signature block).
> And I'm sure other people on this list have GPG keys available.
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> -ITG (ITechGeek)
> ITG at ITechGeek.Com
> GPG Keys:
> Preferred GPG Key: Fingerprint: AB46B7E363DA7E04ABFA57852AA9910A DCB1191A
> Google Voice: +1-703-493-0128 / Twitter: ITechGeek / Facebook:
> On Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 10:19 AM, Nathan of Guardian <
> nathan at> wrote:
>> On Thu, Jan 1, 2015, at 12:58 PM, Nathan of Guardian wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> > On Thu, Jan 1, 2015, at 11:41 AM, Richard Brooks wrote:
>> > > Anyone willing to share experiences on setting up
>> > > (or using) an Internet to SMS interface...
>> >
>> > What about using an Android phone as the gateway device/SMS sender?
>> > There are a lot of solutions out there for that, and experience in this
>> > community deploying them.
>> >
>> > for example
>> Here are a few more examples:
>> All in all, if your volume is not crazy high, it is the easiest way to
>> support pretty much any network in the world, as long as you have a
>> place to keep a phone safe and charged in the local area.
>> --
>>   Nathan of Guardian
>>   nathan at
>> --
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> --
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Chris Csikszentmihályi
ERA Chair & Scientific Director
Professor   [image: m-itiLogo] <>
------------------------------ | csik at | <>
* "Art means… to resist the course of a world that unceasingly holds a gun
to mankind's chest."

--Theodore Adorno*
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