To better serve its customers in (parts of) Africa, Google launched Gmail SMS service, allowing users to access their email account(s) even with the most basic of phones. Fancy features like mobile Internet access and Wi-Fi connectivity are not required to keep in touch with Gmail SMS — as long as your phone can handle SMS, you’re good to go.
Of course, one shouldn’t expect an awesome experience, but you will be able to reply to messages, and control the flow of new/incoming ones with commands like MORE, PAUSE and RESUME. Users on the other of the line end won’t even notice you’re not accessing Gmail from a web interface or a dedicated email client – as far as they know, you’re just not typing fast.
In order to get started, you’ll need to setup your phone in the Gmail account. Click on your profile photo or account name at the top of the page, then “Account” -> “Phone and SMS” and finally “Open SMS settings.” Now add and then verify your phone number, and… you’re good to go.