There was a time somewhere around 2007 when any Internet user could send Mobilink subscribers messages from the Mobilink website. Not any more. This was back when sms2pk.com also gained much popularity but the site doesn't function any more. Nothing works. And sending international SMS is expensive.
I don't understand why mobile service providers wouldn't want to provide such a service free of charge. Consider a typical scenario when an expatriate wants to SMS back home. I will either send less messages to save cost, or not send them at all. Usually it is so expensive that I might as well just call if I must communicate. Unless, of course, I find a way to send SMS from the Internet for free. Generally, the person I message will end up replying to my cell phone ($$$ for the mobile service provider) or replying to the online applet I used to SMS (again, $$$ for the mobile service provider). So I don't understand why mobile service providers in Pakistan do not offer this service ( especially when they are advanced enough to allow Facebook updates and what not just by sending a message to some number).
I tried searching blogs and Internet forums to find a service that at least talked about this service but the only useful thread I found had posts made in 2006 or 2007, and the others were also useless.
For Singapore, at least SingTel and Starhub allow Internet SMS. SingTel Internet SMS is a little troublesome, because you have to register with the site, but at least anyone can register - it is not limited to SingTel subscribers only. Starhub WebSMS is the absolute best! That is how simple and convenient it should be. And it is a great service to offer subscribers, isn't it? You're enabling communication and making a few extra bucks at the same time - what else does a mobile service provider do?
Currently, the WaridTel website PROBABLY offers such a feature, but only for its subscribers and to sign up, you must enter your Warid number. Isn't that just like chopping off your own feet? IF they offer this service for free, only limited to their subscribers, they're just losing out on the money they could make. Anyway, I am not even sure if that service works. I will have to ask a friend to let me use his number to register for an account (when you register, they send the activation code to the number by SMS).
I also registered for isms.pk which is in beta mode and promises to send free SMS to any number in Pakistan. They have yet to email me my password yet, and if the email never arrives, that means the site has failed already. I learned of this website from that expired thread I spoke of earlier.
From a political perspective, I'm guessing that such a service may not be possible any time soon thanks Mr 10%'s insecurity when he got the interior minister to ban ANY kind of jokes about him (or the government) - all SMS messages and email messages containing indecent, provocative and ill-motivated stories against the civilian leadership (primarily making fun of Zardari) are considered criminal offences, with 14 years in prison as the maximum sentence. Yeah, they're still calling it a democracy.
I want to send free SMS to Pakistan!
(Note to mobile service providers: Paid is also fine as long as it's dirt-cheap - but then it mustn't have daily limits, heh. Mastercard/Visa payment please.)