Listening to text messages / SMS / textos in France

Someone called our apartment this morning, but as it was a 01 number (i.e. Paris) that I didn’t recognize, I assumed it was a wrong number. But they kept calling back every 20 minutes. So I finally answered and heard this:

Vous avez reçu un SMS en provenance du 06 xx xx xx xx. Faites le 1 pour écouter….

WHAAAA? It’s possible to send text messages to a landline and listen to them?

The message was something like “Je suis ?? Je peux passer” read by a female computerized voice. I didn’t recognize the cell number either, and since almost no one has my landline number, I’m assuming it was a mistake.

But I’m wondering how effective this service is with the way people write text messages in French. I still have a hard time figuring out what people are trying to say half the time with all the alternate spellings and numbers replacing syllables!

So if you receive a call from 01 41 00 49 00, you have a new SMS. If you want to send an SMS to a landline, you need to use the original number (the ones that begin with 01 through 05) and not the number that your ISP gives you (09 for Free, etc.)

I’ve tried it with both of our cell phones so far, and Orange uses that 01 number for the caller ID, while SFR uses the actual cell phone number. I always wondered what would happen if I accidentally sent an SMS to a landline, and now I know that it doesn’t just get lost in cyberspace.

Anybody know if this type of service is available in the US too?

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  • http://twentyeighthofmay.wordpress.com/ Sally

    Don’t know about the US, but definitely available in the UK. You can also do it the other way round, too (speech to text):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7292236.stm

    Sallys last blog post..Shame on the lot of you

  • http://twentyeighthofmay.wordpress.com Sally

    Don’t know about the US, but definitely available in the UK. You can also do it the other way round, too (speech to text):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7292236.stm

    Sallys last blog post..Shame on the lot of you

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com/ Zhu

    I have never heard of that, but then, I’m not a cell phone person.

    Makes me thnk of a scam though. I know sometimes you can receive these SMS that are very vague (i.e “c’est moi, rappelle tout de suite!”) and you have to dial an over taxed phone number.

    Zhus last blog post..Immigration: The Skilled Worker Category (2/10)

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    I have never heard of that, but then, I’m not a cell phone person.

    Makes me thnk of a scam though. I know sometimes you can receive these SMS that are very vague (i.e “c’est moi, rappelle tout de suite!”) and you have to dial an over taxed phone number.

    Zhus last blog post..Immigration: The Skilled Worker Category (2/10)

  • ksam

    i don’t know if it exists in the US, but i used to do that to fab all the time – send text messages in english to the farm line. it was so hilarious to hear a computer try to read them!!!

  • ksam

    i don’t know if it exists in the US, but i used to do that to fab all the time – send text messages in english to the farm line. it was so hilarious to hear a computer try to read them!!!

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    If your friends send you text messages written in chatspeak, the solution is to change friends… ;-)

    More seriously, I have only one friend that thinks writing like a moron is not a bad idea, and usually when she does this, I don’t read nor responds to the message… She started writing properly quite quickly.

    Davids last blog post..Three Thoughts/News for the Day…

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com David

    If your friends send you text messages written in chatspeak, the solution is to change friends… ;-)

    More seriously, I have only one friend that thinks writing like a moron is not a bad idea, and usually when she does this, I don’t read nor responds to the message… She started writing properly quite quickly.

    Davids last blog post..Three Thoughts/News for the Day…

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com/ Andromeda

    I remember doing this with my Sprint phone in the states like, two years ago, so yes it does exist there! Useful for people who only have landlines I guess, but wouldn’t it be easier to just call them? I think people (myself included!) just think the computerized voice is neat and futuristic.

    Andromedas last blog post..8 May

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com Andromeda

    I remember doing this with my Sprint phone in the states like, two years ago, so yes it does exist there! Useful for people who only have landlines I guess, but wouldn’t it be easier to just call them? I think people (myself included!) just think the computerized voice is neat and futuristic.

    Andromedas last blog post..8 May

  • http://parlezvouskiwi.net/ parlezvouskiwi

    I know we definitely don’t have this in New Zealand. That is crazy! And kind of creepy, haha.

  • http://parlezvouskiwi.net parlezvouskiwi

    I know we definitely don’t have this in New Zealand. That is crazy! And kind of creepy, haha.

  • Lily

    This is likely to be a mistake.
    Being French, I’ve never heard of anyone who sends sms to landlines for fun. Most of the time people mess up when they want to send one and send it to a landline, as opposed to a cell phone, so they need a service to “speak” them aloud. Doing it on purpose would reveal itself surely pointless as you said, because of all the abreviations we’re using !
    But I agree it is most surprizing when you hear it !
    (Oh and by the way I’m originally from Annecy and I must say that it’s fun to discover a foreign point of view !)

  • Lily

    This is likely to be a mistake.
    Being French, I’ve never heard of anyone who sends sms to landlines for fun. Most of the time people mess up when they want to send one and send it to a landline, as opposed to a cell phone, so they need a service to “speak” them aloud. Doing it on purpose would reveal itself surely pointless as you said, because of all the abreviations we’re using !
    But I agree it is most surprizing when you hear it !
    (Oh and by the way I’m originally from Annecy and I must say that it’s fun to discover a foreign point of view !)

  • http://emmavalentine.wordpress.com/ Eliza

    I know this exists in the UK though I’ve never used it myself, those computerized voices are a little creepy!

    Elizas last blog post..Oh hai May, where did April go???

  • http://emmavalentine.wordpress.com Eliza

    I know this exists in the UK though I’ve never used it myself, those computerized voices are a little creepy!

    Elizas last blog post..Oh hai May, where did April go???

  • Kara

    I’m in the US and that service DOES exist (although I really don’t know anything about it). My mom picked up our landline once and it was a text from one of my friends who had texted the landline instead of my cell phone. Really weird.

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