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

I recently downloaded FrontlineSMS and purchased a Motorola L6i (compatible). I am volunteer in Haiti specializing in community development. FrontlineSMS a great way to reach out the community but I doesn't seem to want to work for me.


I am using a Mac OS Desktop. I have tried to sync the L6i several times, including Bluetooth connection, usb plugin (I have no problem linking the phone and sharing files with the comp). The FrontlineSMS program won't recognize the device. I have done all the troubleshooting techniques listed on the website, but still won't connect. Can anyone give me some help, guidance, referrals, anything.


Thank you in advance for the help.  



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Hi Jack


Unfortunately Mac's can be pretty tricky to get working (Windows, love it or hate it, generally runs out-of-the-box). There may be some configuring you'll have to do to get the device recognised, and there are some Forum topics here which deal with getting FrontlineSMS running on a Mac.


A couple of initial questions:


1. Can you send an SMS via the software which came with the phone? I assume some did since you mention being able to share files with the computer.

2. Are you fully shutting down any of this software before running FrontlineSMS? Often the ports can be blocked, otherwise.

3. Does your phone appear anywhere in the "Phones" tab?


If none of this helps you might want to send us your logs/error report (see the "Help" menu) once you've tried again, and our developers can try to take a look at what's going on.






P.S. There are other users in Haiti. Have you tried searching for "Haiti" in the Members section here, and contacting any of them? Might be worth a go.

Thanks Ken.

I have heard that Mac are difficult to sync.

To answer your questions: 

1) Oddly enough, the phone did not come with software, I think with might be a problem. I have been able to connect the computer via bluetooth and that's how I can share files/pics/etc. Seems slightly unique that I have to purchase the software in addition to the phone, but I understand communications companies need to get paid. I've downloaded some free "plug-in" software which doesn't seem to have helped. 


3) My phone is completely not recognized by FrontlineSMS, whether it's in "Phone" tabs or non-working devises. 


I have our IT guys looking into it but he's not making any progress either. 


Thanks for the help, I'll just have to keep working at it because there is great potential for this program within my organization and Haiti.



Hi Jack


It sounds as though the phone is able to share it's storage via Bluetooth by default, since that doesn't need any specific drivers. To use the phone as a GSM modem, which is how FrontlineSMS needs to access it, requires the phone to have a driver so your Mac can recognise it. I'm 99% sure that without drivers installed the Mac won't even see the phone as a COM port, which is what FrontlineSMS scans for when it looks for devices.


We do recommend GSM modems over phones these days, to avoid these kinds of issues (and issues with faulty or fake cables). If you have access to one then your life will be easier, although (again) Macs do sometimes need a bit of work.


Let me know if you have any joy with this - sorry I can't suggest anything else.




P.S. You can send messages without an attached device, using IntelliSMS or Clickatell which are both supported in FrontlineSMS. IntelliSMS is slightly easier to set up. You just need an active Internet connection for those to work. Check the "Help" files -> "Settings" if you're interested in giving that a go.

It would appear you are correct regarding the driver. I downloaded FrontlineSMS on my windows PC laptop and a message prompted me to install the driver in order to complete the sync. The problem still lies in the fact that the proper software did not come with the phone and it is rather difficult to get in Haiti.

After speaking with my colleagues regarding the Motorola phone and corresponding software (which cost about $50), we are now considering either switching to the recommended GSM modem OR purchasing one of the other recommended phones with software. My questions are 2-fold: 1) How much does a GSM modem go for these days (is it more or less economical than the mobile options) and 2) Where can one buy said GSM modem (keep in mind we are located in Haiti but might be able to ship it to the US and have it delivered).

Thank you again and I greatly appreciate all help



Hi Jack


Your best bet is to go into the "Members" section of the community, search for "Haiti" and message the users that come up. Some of them will know how much modems cost, where you can get them from, and which ones work. I'd definitely go for a modem to avoid potentially having the same driver problems again.



Hi Jack,


I have also asked Tom Marnetette about this issue, since he is working on a project in Haiti (he's actually in Haiti now with limited connection). He offered some advice and is acutally arranging an meeting with some new FrontlineSMS users whilst in Haiti, too. He said it was fine for me to share with you on the forum so I have copied below:


"The two modems listed below are proven to work with FrontlineSMS (both are available at Digicel Headquarters in Port-au-Prince). A contact at Digicel that may be able to assist you with this is Rodrigue Osirus (I have sent you relevant contact info in an inbox message).


GSM Modems-

Digicel Mobile Connect ZTE modem (EDGE USB Stick DC87-0)

Digicel Huawei E169 3G USB Data Modem HSPDA/GSM/GPRS/EDGE


Our ICT person has obtained a modem and made contact with Rodrigue Osirus at Digicel, as he is very knowledgeable about FrontlineSMS. We leave in the morning for Haiti and will be down there 8 days. If there is time, I'd be happy to meet. I'm coordinating a luncheon with ICT4D folks from MercyCorps and Fonkoze (that I met through the recent TechChange course) on November 14, from 11:30am-1pm in Port-au-Prince. If either of you are interested in joining us, let me know."


I hope this is helpful! If you would like to join the meeting with Tom and Co. I will be happy to put you directly in touch.


All the Best,



Hello Florence, Jack,

Sorry to hop in uninvited, but this sounds quite interesting. I'm located in Haiti as well and I'm very interested in meeting other people trying to establish this software in the country. Do you think it would be possible for me to assist as well?




Hi Pedro,


No apology needed; thanks for reaching out. There is turning out to be quite the network of FrontlineSMS users and potential users in Haiti, and it is really exciting to see this meeting come together! I will introduce you to Tom and I am sure he will be happy for you to join the lunchtime meeting on Nov 14. I look forward to hearing how the meeting goes! I actually hope this can be one of many meet-ups between FrontlineSMS users in different countries across the world! \o/


Thanks for the interest, 



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