Apparently Bell and Telus, as if they didn’t suck enough, have decided they’re going to charge for incoming text messages.

From a Globe and Mail article: Telus defended its decision, saying the volume of text messages has skyrocketed and most U.S. carriers already charge for getting them.

But, at 5p each, text messages already cost four times as much as downloading data from the Hubble Space Telescope, says Dr. Nigel Bannister. And in Canada, where Telus and Bell charge 15c to send a text message, it’s actually more like six times as expensive.

Here’s another good one from Telus Mobility spokesman AJ Gratton: “The growth in text messages has been nothing short of phenomenal. This volume places tremendous demands on our network and we can’t afford to provide this service for free anymore.”

I would think most SMS messages are sent from phones to other phones, and even if they’re not the Hubble comparison above suggests they would only need a very small fraction of them to be in order to break even. So a profitable service is growing, and they’re claiming that somehow the expenses are outpacing the revenues? Major WTF for anyone who’s heard of economies of scale.

As my Virgin Mobile phone is resold off the Bell network, I assume this will affect me too. Although it probably won’t, because one of the reasons I got the phone in the first place was to receive Google Calendar SMS notifications, and they’re dreaming if they think I’ll start paying $1 – $2 a day (on top of my $20 flat monthly charge) to get those.

I hope the NDP petition and the fact that even the deregulation-pushing Conservatives are on their ass about it has some effect on the outcome.

Jul 9th, 2008
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