With Owl SMS, all you need is internet WiFi access to send and receive SMS messages. For your sending phone number, select one or more numbers from Twilio, an internet communications provider that is plugged into the world's carriers over their Super Network. When you fly into any international airports that has WiFi, Owl SMS gives you instance SMS access with your local friends, family, and business associates.
On your phone, keep your personal SMS separate from your business SMS. Continue to use your carrier phone application for your personal SMS. Use Owl SMS for your business SMS. Continue to use your carrier phone number for your personal SMS. Use your Twilio phone number for your business SMS. Both running separately on the same phone.
You can have an SMS phone number for any special reason. Owl SMS is designed to handle more than one Twilio phone number. And, when you change phones, load Owl SMS on the new phone, enter your Twilio account information and you're up and running once more. Your messages are stored on the Twilio severs which are Amazon Web Services servers.
Owl SMS communicates directly with the Twilio servers, there is no intermediate company. You signup for a Twilio account at https://twilio.com/console, select a phone number, configure the phone number (instructions included in the Owl SMS application), and you're ready to do SMS using your new phone number.
Is it free to use? The Owl SMS application is free. Twilio has a free account option which has restrictions. For example, you can only send and receive messages, to and from, phone numbers you have pre-verified. For more information, search for "How does Twilio's Free Trial work?"
What are the costs for a paid version? At this time, there is only the free version of Owl SMS. However, Twilio has an upgraded service for the sale of phone numbers and SMS usage. You'll need a credit card to create a $20 balance with them. For example, US, Canadian, and UK phone numbers cost $1/month (US dollars). It costs $0.0075 to send or receive a US message. Pricing is usage based and may vary from country to country. Phone number restrictions may vary from country to country. So check the Twilio phone number information for details.
For Twilio pricing, start with https://twilio.com/sms/pricing.
To get started, download and install the Owl SMS Android app. Get a Twilio account, select a phone number, enter the Twilio account information into the Owl SMS Settings. Your Google Contacts are available for you to use in Owl SMS. You are ready to select a contact, send a message, and read received messages.
Owl SMS is offered "as is", without warranty or guarantee.
It has limited features. Phone numbers are entered without dashes or spaces, example: for this number "1-650-123-1234", enter "+16501231234", which is a the format Google calls normalized. Conversations can be deleted, however, individual messages cannot be selected for deletion. There is no support for media, i.e. no photos, no video, only text.
However, as a bonus, I added the Twilio phone number lookup. You can check who the carrier is for any phone number. Note, for those with a paid Twilio account, there is a half cent cost per lookup.
Disclaimer: Owl SMS is not a Twilio company application, even though it was developed by Twilio employees. There is a saying within the company, "Just draw the Owl." This is our drawing of an SMS application.