FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

Best Phone-Modem-Prepiad SIM Card Combination for USA Usage

After much pain with FrontlineSMS and several phone/modem/SIM combinations, I'm wondering what the best setup is for users in the USA.

I'd like to run FLSMS on a Windows XP computer using a pre-paid SIM card. I'd prefer T-Mobile as I already have a line and credit to use, but I'm not tied to them. What is a requirement is a USB modem or phone w/ USB cable that a) really works on US cellular carriers and b) is available for normal purchase for less than $150.

Thanks in advance,

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I went through the same hassle with bad phones & cables, hence my post. Glad it helped.

The saga continues... I looked for a Compass 885 online and amzon keeps directing me to a Sierra 885 Mercury. So I'm talking with the seller who can't vouch for any of the product information on his/her own product! So I'm canceling that and trying someone else. When did vendors become so lacking in knowledge about their products?

BTW - all 25 other vendors for this product are in China. I'm might go there, but return policies are nil and I've already been burned with one GSM modem from china being DOA.

Where did you buy yours? I also found a Compass 888 listed at

is this the same thing? Even the product info is confused here, as part refers to the 885 in the middle of the 888 description!

So here's the disappointing secret - we got ours through a donation. The donor thought they were USB memory sticks. But even after we alerted them to the difference, they still wanted us to keep the dongles.

For new ones, try one of these vendors:

I've used MacMall for other products before & found them to be as good as any other.

Or you can buy used ones on Amazon: Sierra Wireless Mercury 885
Thanks. I agree with your advice totally. Back in August (can you believe we've been trying for 7 months now?) we tried a USB GSM from china that didn't work. So then I thought a phone off the approved list would be better. Still failed. Now I am buying a Compass 888 for $99 and praying, since I can't find anyone to tell a Compass 885 unlocked. There is so much confusion and mislabeling in this field, it's like we're dealing with a monopoly mentality in the market - where transparency doesn't matter.

Ironically, that's what SMS is for us - a means to add transparency to NGOs.

Will let you know if this one works.

I found a Sierra Wireless Compass 885 and tried it in frontlineSMS. This one looks promising but not working yet. Under "Phones" in FLSMS it comes up on COM5 and says "SierraWirelessInc C885" and "Disconnected: failed to connect."

Any ideas what's going wrong? At least FLSMS found it. That's farther than I've gotten with any of my other phones/GSM modems. but I still could use some advice from some who's gotten it to work. Can we talk on the phone?

It seems my victory was premature. The Inveneo techies say that can get a Compass 885 going, but Ive just pulled what hair I have left out of my head in frustration and got no where. The modem works - it can send/receive text just fine, but FLSMS cannot.

Did you make any progress?
Nope. Would be helpful in the future to specify that you have tested it with FLSMS before recommending something on the list. That's 3 strikes. And we expect people without a PhD to be able to do this?
I've been able to get the Compass 885 working on Windows. I think the secret is that you have to connect using the device's software and leave that up and running while you use FrontlineSMS.

Disclaimer - this was a quick test to make sure I could get the modem working at all. I'm trying to get this modem working on Ubuntu (will try to post my problems on another thread).

Here's a thread where I posted details:
I've now gotten it to work and have on my list to do is the step -by- step to setting up a 885 + FLSMS + At&T Go Phone Sim

Its easy to do, once you know the secrets
Are you running Windows or Ubuntu (or any other flavour of linux)?
Did you ever figure this out? I'm trying to figure out how to test a FLSMS deployment here in NYC before we send it to Nairobi, but I can't figure out the hardware setup I need to make it work. Any recommendations?

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