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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, April 19, 2013

Free text messaging available

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Connected home technology photo
Larry Schweber gets a text message with a video clip every time someone walks through the front door of his Ansley Park home.

By Clark Howard

Are you paying for something you can get better for free?

Many people pay a king's ransom to AT&T or Verizon -- around $20 a month -- for texting. But smartphones can use apps that allow worldwide free messaging and they deliver a more robust user experience too. Among the free options:

It's important to mention that these services are free when you're texting from a free wifi hotspot. If you're not, you're using your smartphone's data network and could incur a fee.

These services I've listed give you messaging apps for free because it's all about the games they try to sell you. It's not even the mobile ads that pay the bills for these freemium services; it's really the gaming apps that come embedded in the platforms!

Of course, the fastest growing of all these free services is the controversial If you're a parent and you haven't heard of SnapChat, get a clue fast so you know what your kids might be up to.

As for you, stop throwing money away! Don't let AT&T or Verizon rip you when the industry offers better stuff for free.

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