Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bell, Telus Will Charge to Receive Text Messages

According to reports, while the negative rate plan spotlight is currently being shone on Rogers Wireless for its decision not to offer an unlimited data plan for the iPhone, both Bell and Telus are trying to slip a fast one past the media's radar. Both carriers cleverly (and stratetically) announced they would offer an unlimited data plan for smartphones, including two new touch-screen models similar to the iPhone. But less than a week later, each more quietly announced that they would begin charging customers without a text messaging bundle for receiving SMSs.

Currently, it costs $0.15 to send a text message, but it's free to receive them. While $0.15/received message doesn't sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things (after all, heavy finger-happy users will probably already have a bundle plan), it does add up.

I don't consider myself to be a heavy text messager, but I do send a few every now and then when I don't have the time to chat, or in response to a message sent to me. Usually, it will add up to about $2 additonal bucks per month, which I've learned to live with. If this now doubles to $4 every month; or potentially even more counting finger-happy friends that are on the Rogers network (it is still free to send text messages through Rogers), I could be looking at more than I bargained for some months; or be forced to buy a bundle and then pay for something I don't use half the time. What's more, this will just be another nickel-and-dime fee to add with the rest, like "System Access Fee", and even hefty charges for voice mail: somehow mine has increased by $3 in the past few years without my ever being notified about it!)

If this move is in an effort to cover costs associated with heavy text usage, I don't see how it will work. What will likely happen will be that people sign up for these bundles, then start texting more often to justify the extra cost, resulting in even more usage (and more money in the carrier's pocket).

Bell's new text messaging charges will come into effect on August 8 and Telus' on August 24. Both will charge $0.15/received message.

According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), Canadians send 43.5 million text messages per day. By my count, that equates to $6.5 million per day. Do carriers really need to charge more?

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Anonymous said...

Bell I can see suckering punching you when the opportunity is there, but et to Telus say it ain't so. People are just feeding the beast

Anonymous said...

The bulk of text messengers will be on text messenging packages (probably most are sent by users on unlimited packages), so 43.5 million messages per day will not translate into anything close to $6.5 million dollers of revenue.

buzz said...

I can call long distance on my cell in canada for $3.95 a month.

I get 100 "free" texts from virgin but go through > $15 worth now its $30 , cheaper to call out west than text

heres the link