T-Mobile is being sued by EZ Texting which claims the fourth-largest U.S. carrier was unfairly blocking its SMS delivery service due to connections with medical marijuana groups.
The company, which offers groups and organizations way to have mass SMS campaigns, said T-Mobile was concerned about its connections to a legal (in the state it was located) marijuana dispensary group. EZ Texting said it severed ties with this marijuana group but its short code capabilities were revoked anyways.
“In other words, even when EZ Texting acceded to T-Mobile’s (unreasonable and unlawful) demand simply to prevent further damage to EZ Texting’s entire business, EZ Texting’s short code was still blocked by T-Mobile,” said EZ Texting CEO Shane Neman.
Over at Ars Technica, the publication quoted the advocacy group Public Knowledge, which has been concerned about actions like this from the carriers.
“This case is yet another example of a totally arbitrary decision by a carrier to block text message calls between consumers and organizations they want to communicate with,” said Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn. “The FCC should put a fast end to this blocking by issuing the ruling we asked them for three years ago.”
There’s no official response from T-Mobile yet but this doesn’t cast it in a good light. To be fair, text messaging is not part of the “common carrier” regulations, so the private company T-Mobile does have rights to choose which types of businesses it wants to deal with.
Mobile marketing companies were already worried about T-Mobile because the company plans to increase its text messaging fees. Originally, some thought that this would place an undue burden on companies like Twitter or ChaCha, which still send a ton of text messages to its users.
T-Mobile clarified this position by saying that companies with direct relationships with the customers, like Twitter, would not be subject to this rate increases. It did say that third-party aggregate companies, EZ Texting may fall under that umbrella, will be subject to the increased fees.