does anyone know if its possible to set up a system, preferably using php where by people can send information via SMS and this data can automatically be uploaded to a website/database, also what sort of technology would this require??
1. SHN (Sim Hosted Numbers) - These are SIM cards in mobiles with modems or in GSM modems.
2. VMN (Virtual Mobile Numbers) - These look like mobile numbers, but go straight from the networks to your computers.
3. CSC (Common Short Codes) - These are like VMNs, but very short in length.
The company which I work for provides these, so the advice which I'm offering is quite sound.
As you only want to receive SMS from people in Spain, you should stick to a Spanish number. This means that VMN's are out of the window because the Spanish networks don't offer them.
So your left to choose between an SHN or a CSC...
One question, before I go further, do you know what AT commands are and how they work?
With SIM Hosting, SMS are received through a GSM SIM card that is connected to a GSM-enabled computer. That is a computer which is connected to a GSM modem or a GSM mobile with modem capabilities. As you are not technically able to do this yourself, you have to outsource it.
There are companies here, in the UK, and abroad in India which do this and charge fees for it. The only problem is that, although receiving SMS in Spain are free, your SMS have to be forwarded to the country in which the SIM card is located and you face the roaming rates.
So, the 2 options are these:
1. Find a company in Spain that does "SIM Hosting". You supply them with the SIM and they supply you with an API. As they are in Spain, there is no roaming costs... but I've never come across a company in Spain which does this.
2. Find a company which can provide you with access to a Spanish CSC and an API to receive your messages through. CSCs are very expensive, so most likely you'll have to have shared access (i.e. a keyword), but for most applications shared access is fine.
Let me know how things go and if you need further help.