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I understand that the iPad mini is Data Only, but does that mean it's impossible to send/receive a SMS from the device?

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Apple's Messages program that comes with every iOS device can send/receive messages using a variety of carriers but I'm not sure it can send a text to a cellphone while connected through a cellular network only (which is your question no doubt). – Richard Mar 18 '13 at 13:48
Richard: iMessage is data only, it cannot perform Data-to-SMS, as the user apparently needs/wants. – George Spiceland May 25 '13 at 19:14

There are lots of programs that can send/receive an SMS over a data connection in the USA. I mostly use Google Voice so it's place to start. An App Store search on "SMS" returned 2776 iPad apps and 7914 iPhone apps so the hard part is that there's actually too many to choose from.

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