Twitter stops UK SMS updates
An email from Biz Stone (great name) infroms me that Twitter will no longer deliver updates from the people you follow. As much as i understand the reasons and appreciate the huge cost of delivering these text updates, a huge part of the service’s appeal is now lost to me. This action also serves to highlight the extortionate cost to consumers of sending text messages, which has been previously reported as being at least 4 times more expensive than transmitting data from Hubble.
The message from Twitter was as follows:
I’m sending you this note because you registered a mobile device
to work with Twitter over our UK number. I wanted to let you
know that we are making some changes to the way SMS works on
Twitter. There is some good news and some bad news.
I’ll start with the bad news. Beginning today, Twitter is no
longer delivering outbound SMS over our UK number. If you enjoy
receiving updates from Twitter via +44 762 480 1423, we are
recommending that you explore some suggested alternatives.
Note: You will still be able to UPDATE over our UK number.
Before I go into more detail, here’s a bit of good news: Twitter
will be introducing several new, local SMS numbers in countries
throughout Europe in the coming weeks and months. These new
numbers will make Twittering more accessible for you if you’ve
been using SMS to send long-distance updates from outside the UK.
Why are we making these changes?
Mobile operators in most of the world charge users to send
updates. When you send one message to Twitter and we send it to
ten followers, you aren’t charged ten times–that’s because we’ve
been footing the bill. When we launched our free SMS service to
the world, we set the clock ticking. As the service grew in
popularity, so too would the price.
Our challenge during this window of time was to establish
relationships with mobile operators around the world such that
our SMS services could become sustainable from a cost perspective.
We achieved this goal in Canada, India, and the United States.
We can provide full incoming and outgoing SMS service without
passing along operator fees in these countries.
We took a risk hoping to bring more nations onboard and more
mobile operators around to our way of thinking but we’ve arrived
at a point where the responsible thing to do is slow our costs
and take a different approach. Since you probably don’t live in
Canada, India, or the US, we recommend receiving your Twitter
updates via one of the following methods.
m.twitter.com works on browser-enabled phones
m.slandr.net works on browser-enabled phones
TwitterMail.com works on email-enabled phones
Cellity [http://bit.ly/12bw4R] works on java-enabled phones
TwitterBerry [http://bit.ly/MFAfJ] works on BlackBerry phones
Twitterific [http://bit.ly/1WxjwQ] works on iPhones
Twitter SMS by The Numbers
It pains us to take this measure. However, we need to avoid
placing undue burden on our company and our service. Even with a
limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter
about $1,000 per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada,
India, or the US. It makes more sense for us to establish fair
billing arrangements with mobile operators than it does to pass
these high fees on to our users.
Twitter will continue to negotiate with mobile operators in
Europe, Asia, China, and The Americas to forge relationships
that benefit all our users. Our goal is to provide full, two-way
service with Twitter via SMS to every nation in a way that is
sustainable from a cost perspective. Talks with mobile companies
around the world continue. In the meantime, more local numbers
for updating via SMS are on the way. We’ll keep you posted.
Thank you for your attention,
Biz Stone, Co-founder