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TLDR: I'm looking for advice on the most straightforward method to set up an SMS system using my own SIM card, without relying on SMS service providers like Twilio or MessageBird.

Currently, I am developing a custom appointment system for a doctor, using NEXT.JS and SUPABASE. The good doctor wants to send an SMS to his patients to inform them about incoming appointments. He will be sending between 15 and 50 messages per week.

Initially I suggested using a SMS provider like Twilio or Message Bird. However, he raised an interesting point: Couldn't we use his SIM card? He already have a plan with unlimited SMS messages within our country. It got me thinking that using his SIM card could potentially be more cost-effective.

Sounds good, but I am not sure how to pull it of. What are some easy ways to make this happen? I'm open to any suggestions or insights you may have.

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  • The sim card is basically just an authentication method. It doesn't help you at all, because authenticating yourself with a telecommunications network isn't your problem: connecting to it in the first place is your issue, which is exactly what services like Twilio are offering.
    – Alexander
    Feb 25 at 16:31
  • You could probably connect an android device to a server, and use adb to command it to send SMSes, but that's more effort than it's worth.
    – Alexander
    Feb 25 at 16:32
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    Not a technical answer, but... sending an SMS costs less than a cent through these service in my country. Even at 50 a week, that would mean that you working for minimum wage to figure out an alternative that costs them "nothing", would be way more expensive than just getting an account with those services. And I assume software developers make more than minimum wage.
    – nvoigt
    Feb 25 at 16:37
  • The logic of "use my SIM, I already have unlimited SMSes" is about the same as "the company can use my car, I already paid it off". There are significant administrative hurdles related to such a process, dealing with ownership from a private individual (let alone an employee of the company), and it's usually significantly less of a headache for the company to just buy its own SIM card. If the cost of a single SIM card and the SMSes to send with it is that much of a factor here, employing a developer to build such a system is a ludicrous expense in comparison. This does not make sense.
    – Flater
    Feb 26 at 5:33

1 Answer 1

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So it used to be that you could buy a GSM/GPRS modem for your PC/Server, put your sim in it and start sending sms messages.

This is fairly easy to do, the catch is the small print in your phone contract. Unlimited messages doesn't mean unlimited and they will cancel the service if you start spamming or acting as an intermediate message forwarder. Which generally is what people did with them.

You also have to have a hosted server with your own hardware plugged into it and access to replace the sims if they get blocked.

Also this probably isn't event the "easiest" way any more, there are a bunch of apps that let you connect your phone to your pc and send sms and message from there. You could write your own or find one with an API. This could be the cheapest option, but again you have to keep the whole thing plugged in and running perfectly, phone logged in, unlocked, etc etc

For most commercial ro large application, such as sending messages when things break, or integrating with an app you made, simply paying for a API service from one of the many providers is the easiest and cheapest way of doing it.

It's not so much the tech you pay for as the contracts with various phone networks they have in place. One patient with a foreign number could see all your "savings" go out the window over night.

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