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

I have been looking on the requirements page for gsm-modems which can be used to use Frontline SMS. However, these modems are all outdated and not in stock. All I found was a Huawei 1750 for 90 euros, a Huawei E5 for 200 euros and Samba 75 for € 250.-. I was wondering, does anybody have experience with one of these modems, and otherwise, what other more current modem would you suggest?


Thank you so much in advance for your time and consideration,


Jorrit Mulder

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Hello Jorrit,

obviously, we haven't been able to test every single modem/phone, so there *should* be a lot of those which can work with FrontlineSMS that we're not aware of...
Anyway, the choice of a GSM Modem is very wise. My little piece of advice would be to avoid the Samba one, as we've already had some problems with them. Huawei devices usually works fine though, so this may be a solution.
If you want to be sure, try to buy one refundable in case it doesn't work...

Morgan \o/
Hi Morgan

Thanks for your quick reply and advice. I still think though that to make Frontline SMS more attractive for new users there should be at least some new phones and modems on the site which work and are available.

For now, are there any users who have experiences with using newer phones and modems than listed on the site?

Hi Jorrit!

I've just taken a look at the requirements list again.
We wrote that the Huawei E Series GSM modems all working, which means your "E5" is OK. I've also checked your "1750", which happens to be a "E1750", so this one should work too.

Hi guys,

I really appreciate this thread as I'm dealing with the same issue at the minute! Do you think this modem would work?

If so, it's much cheaper. On this page it is claims that this model "replaces the obsolete and end of life Falcom Samba 75 USB GSM".

Does it seem to fit the bill?

Thanks, Ruairi
I hate to sound negative but I think FLSMS should reinforce the message that mobile phones are not eligible for online support by highlighting it on the Front page and not putting that information in the Requirements page. On the front page it says "By leveraging basic tools already available to most NGOs — computers and mobile phones — FrontlineSMS enables instantaneous two-way communication on a large scale. " which suggests that the software is designed to fully support mobile phones.
I foolishly didn't read the message on the Requirements page well enough and bought a Sony T700 which is on the list of compatible mobile phones but which doesn't work.
In a developing country like Vanuatu that is unfortunately an expensive mistake to make.
We have tried a handful of other phones (none of which appear on either list) but with no success and will now have to source a GSM modem from overseas as the only one readily available here requires us taking out an expensive contract with a local Telco which obviously we don't want to do if we decide that FLSMS is not for us.
Hi Morgan,

I bought the Huawei E 1750 and it is working!:) Thanks for your suggestion.
Glad to hear this, Jorrit :)
Hi John

Sorry to hear that this has caused you problems, and that the messaging on the website has not been clear. We have just totally re-done the website and it's still work in progress, and I agree that we need to fix this. Saying that, we do often find that people don't fully read guidance and instructions, and this is something we can't do too much about.

To be clear, all of the phones listed on the website will work. The challenge with phones, however, is that there are multiple cables often available (many of which are cheap imports which don't actually fully support the device), and many computers run software (which comes with the phone/cable) which blocks access to the phone to FrontlineSMS. We only took the decision to encourage people to *not* use phones last week, primarily because 50% of our developer team spent the best part of two days trying to help someone get a phone working. With a team of just two, we just can't sustain this level of support without charging, and we're keen to not do that. I'm not sure, for example, if your organisation would be in a position to pay for support.

If your phone is listed then it will work, but as I mentioned there are external factors which we can't control. Have you been through the "Troubleshooting" section of the "Help" files, which helps with these kinds of problems? Have you posted a "Forum" topic on your problem? If not, feel free to do that in this case, giving as much information and you can. We have no developers around this week (Morgan is dipping in and out for us while he's away) but we'll get onto it as soon as we can.

Many thanks.

Thanks for the reply Ken, I fully appreciate the issues you have in supporting so many platforms (and users of varying skill levels) and I in no way blame you for my stupidity ;) I have indeed gone through the Troubleshooting process and posted my logs a couple of times and I do have the correct cable etc, However I shall try again tomorrow and see if I have any joy.
I guess I am just frustrated by not being able to make use of the software when I can see many uses for it.

Cheers, John
Hi John

I fully share your frustration. The mobile hardware ecosystem is just a mess, but we made the decision to try and support phones because at that time (2005) modems weren't widely available. They're certainly not available everywhere today, but they are far more common. Many users still use phones, and we will continue to support them while trying to encourage users to use modems.

If you have any software with the cable (it should have come with some management software), try installing that and seeing if you can send an SMS. If you can, leave everything as it is and fire up FrontlineSMS. The phone may connect with the T700 software running. If it does, try sending a text then. If it doesn't, let me know what you see (i.e. does the "Phones" tab show the phone at all, etc) and we can see what we can do.


Hi Jorrit
will the Huawei E 1750 work with a prepaid sim card. I don't have a data service like 3G or EDGE. I Just have the normal phone service with SMS on a GSM network.
Since you don't need a data plan to use FrontlineSMS, everything should work using the E1750 with a only pre-pay SIM card, assuming you have a credit balance. Because FrontlineSMS is unable to check and top-up balances, you'll need to do this manually with the SIM card inserted in a regular phone. If messages start to fail to send at any point, it will likely be down to you running out of credit.

Hope that helps.


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