Samsung Messages App - Alternatives?

Mods: I scrolled through the topics and forums but couldn't find a more appropriate place to post this question, if there is a better place to post this, please feel free to move it.

I'm a recent convert to Android after being one of the few desperately fighting to keep BB10 alive and working. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

My replacement for my trusty Passport is a Samsung A8 which after a couple of weeks of mucking around with I've almost got it comfortably useful. The only thing I don't like about it is Samsung's bloatware, particularly it's Messages app with I find woefully unreliable, not a day goes by where it simply refuses to send or receive. I thought it might be my carrier but I've never had issues with SMS like this before during my almost 10 years with the same company.

What SMS alternatives would any of you recommend? I have WhatsApp and such but I need it to be non-reliant on data transmission due to elderly relatives and their flip phones

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