This service has many great features, one of which allows you to do free SMS messaging as long as you have a data connection. SMS means that you can send and receive picture and video messages as well as traditional text messages.
If you already have a G-mail address (an account with Google in other words), then you can easily setup a Google Voice phone number and have the benefit of free texting if you don't already pay for unlimited text messaging. You can get started by going to: https://www.google.com/voice. After setting up Google Voice, you'll need to go to the Play Store on your mobile device and install the Google Voice app.
Yes, you will have two phone numbers instead of one after you setup the service: the price to pay for free unlimited texting. When I say price to pay, it's a figure of speech: there is no cost to using Google Voice services. After setting up the service, you will be prompted to allow Google Hangouts to handle SMS messaging. You WILL want to do this if you want to be able to send and receive video and picture messages. Google Voice cannot do SMS, only simple text messages. Google Hangouts also lets you do video chatting, among other things.
Another great feature of Google Voice is that it can manage your voicemail instead of having your carrier take care of it. You don't have to opt into letting Google Voice manage voicemail for you, but I highly recommend it. It's far superior to what any of the carriers offer for voicemail features.
These are just some of the great capabilities of Google Voice. To learn more, visit the Google Voice YouTube Channel. I've been using Google Voice for a couple of years, and have enjoyed the unlimited text messaging feature a lot. In my case, my carrier charges $5/month for not enough messages, and then charges a ridiculous fee if you go over your allotment. Unlimited texting is offered for $20/month. I don't think so!
I'll soon be switching to Republic Wireless who offer unlimited talk and texting plans starting at $10/month +tax. I'm under contract with my current carrier until the Spring. I've been with them for over 10 years, but I'm thrilled to be switching to Republic soon. Consumer Reports recently rated them as the top prepaid wireless carrier.