Frontline SMS

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search



quoted from The Next Net Google Group

"FrontlineSMS ( is award- winning free, open source software that turns a laptop and a mobile phone into a central communications hub. Once installed, the program enables users to send and receive text messages with groups of people through mobile phones without necessarily having access to the internet. We have been working with community radio stations who have been using the core software to connect with their audiences and this has given birth to FrontlineSMS:Radio.

We are developing a software plugin for to extend and customise the FrontlineSMS platform for the requirements of a radio station. It will incorporate specific features to assist community radio stations to achieve more efficient and creative two-way SMS communication to complement their programme output. Ideas for how this hybrid media tool might be used include allowing listeners to contribute their opinions, react to current affairs and register their vote in radio polls as well as submit news stories and song requests. This interaction has the potential to engage communities in civic activism and promote social change. We hope to have a pilot trial in April with the release of the software later this year.

FrontlineSMS is delighted to pursue this venture in collaboration with Cambridge University’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR - In October 2010, the Centre launched a two-year research project to explore the extent to which new information and communications technologies influence citizen participation in governance processes. The research will focus on monitoring how communities access and input into information on social issues throughout the lifecycle of the project. As Ken Banks has explained, this unique partnership and academic scrutiny means that 'from the outset and for the first time, this project will determine user behaviour, identify system design and monitor impact throughout the project life cycle.' For more you can watch a video here (http:// where Sharath Srinivasan, Director of CGHR speaks about the project at a recent event on global poverty and technology in October 2010 or read the CGHR article 'Democratising the Airwaves'. We are taking part in the Small Media Initiative ( at SOAS, London next month which is focusing on closed societies - a serious challenge for users of SMS.

So for start up - or indeed existing - Radio stations which are not- for-profit, you might want to consider using FrontlineSMS to manage two-way communication via text which you can download now completely free! For more information you can follow us on Twitter @smsradio and we will soon be launching a dedicated website which will include updates on the progress of the software development."


FrontlineSMS requires a GSM modem or a mobile phone to be connected to your computer via Serial, USB or Bluetooth. GSM modems are more commonly used to browse the Internet and send and receive email from a computer, all through your mobile network. These devices come in many shapes and sizes, although you will most probably recognise them as the USB “dongles” sold in many mobile phone shops.

Please note that we recommend a GSM modem over a phone because they are much easier to set-up, are becoming increasingly affordable, and have a much higher capacity for sending and receiving messages reliably. GSM modems come in different shapes and sizes, but typically resemble those shown here. Because of technical differences between makes and models, not all GSM modems or phones will work with FrontlineSMS. In general, most modems should work but we have only been able to test a few. Below you will find a list of some of the modems and phones which we have tested and know work, but there are many more which work we don’t know of.