Times are tough. With the global economy teetering on the brink of disaster, everyone is looking to pinch as many pennies as they can get their hands on. Major national wireless carriers are no exception.
Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 wireless carrier in the US, has announced that they will start charging content vendors a cool 3 cents for every MT (mobile terminated) message that gets pushed through Verizon’s network on its way to customers’ handsets. MT traffic usually includes text message responses to search queries, text alerts (news, sports, stocks, etc.), and interactive voting notifications. Starting November 1, Verizon will be banking 3 cents for every MT message sent to Verizon customers – the new fee will be charged in addition to the fees that MT vendors already pay. All MT vendors will be subject to the fee increase, with the exception of free-to-end-user campaigns (where the sender assumes all costs associated with sending text messages), non-profit organizations, and mobile donation programs.
The move is apparently aimed at recouping overhead costs associated with delivering text-based content to customers. “Just like any business, we reassess our charges to make sure they align with our costs for providing the service and sometimes it becomes necessary to make adjustments,” Verizon Wireless representative Brenda Raney said. “In this instance, this is the first increase the company has implemented since the service began in 2003.”
Verizon’s decision to levy an additional fee on MT vendors could set a precedent that might just put increasing pressure on the booming MT business. Vendors like cellphone coupon startup Cellfire and SMS-search service ChaCha are most affected, but even political campaigns like Obama’s text-message campaign could feel the pinch.
It’s just too bad that the additional MT fee won’t stop SMS text message spam. Way to go Verizon.