Print 39 comment(s) - last by xsilver.. on Oct 14 at 12:34 PM

Big mobile marketers like Google, CNN, and ESPN could be affected

Text messaging has become one of the most essential services on many mobile phones today. People from all walks of life use text messages to keep in touch with the home or office at times when it's not convenient to call.

Big corporations use text messaging in marketing campaigns and even political camps are using text messages to keep voters informed. Presidential candidate Barack Obama is one example of a politician using text messages to keep in touch with voters and supporters during his election campaign.

Text messages sent automatically to mobile users are known as mobile terminated (MT) messages. Typically, the sender of these messages pays the network provider a fee of under a penny to a few cents. RCR Wireless reports that Verizon Wireless, owner of the second largest wireless network in the U.S., has informed users of its mobile network for MT messages that it will be adding a 3 cent fee on top of the already existing messaging rates.

Verizon says that the fee increase is to cover the costs it incurs sending the messages on its network. The new 3 cent per message fee will start on November 1. The fees will apply only to standard-rate and premium programs and will not be added to text-giving or free-to-end users campaigns where the receiver of the text message pays nothing.

The messaging services that will be affected by this change are large. Services like sports updates, real-time news and horoscopes from providers like Google, CNN, and ESPN could be affected by the new fees. This would mean that the cost to users who subscribe to this sort of service would increase.

Verizon Wireless' Brenda Raney told RCR Wireless, "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. In this instance, this is the first increase the company has implemented since the service began in 2003."

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That can't be right
By DASQ on 10/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: That can't be right
By omnicronx on 10/10/2008 11:35:41 AM , Rating: 2
Which does not even make sense, what does users receiving mass messaged corp texts have to do with texting while driving? I see more businessmen texting while driving than anyone else on the road.. stupid crackberrys.

RE: That can't be right
By LiquidIce1337 on 10/10/2008 11:36:01 AM , Rating: 5
wow, thats awful. It cost them basically nothing to send all those text messages and they are charging more for it? Ridiculous. It has no link to driving, that was just thrown in there for fluff to make them not look like bad guys.

RE: That can't be right
By RabidDog on 10/10/2008 11:54:54 AM , Rating: 5
I think you misread the article.
These fees are to companies that broadcast large volumes of messages, not individual messages between users.

This may help to stem the flow of 'marketing messages' a.k.a. Mobile Spam which is starting to creap onto phones.

RE: That can't be right
By xsilver on 10/11/2008 8:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
Is there a fee for personal users to text in the USA?

here in australia its 20c US each 160 characters. we have a lot of plans though where you pay $20 and get 50 credit so its not the exact cost but anyways.

RE: That can't be right
By Clauzii on 10/12/2008 11:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
20c US :O
In Denmark, 5c US will do it. Some companys have a '$10/month - text all You will!' offer.

I heard You have a lot of walkies instead, or was that in the past? ;)

RE: That can't be right
By overzealot on 10/13/2008 4:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
Walkie talkies are becoming quite rare here as cellphones cost less.
MT messages aren't that expensive here, I send them through my ISP for 5c AU. 20c for mobile to mobile isn't uncommon though.

RE: That can't be right
By xsilver on 10/14/2008 12:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
I dont know if other places use the push to talk PTT feature on their mobile, it basically turns your mobile phone into a walkie talkie with someone else for a day.

Last I checked it was $1 a day per number to enable it.
Sounds like a good feature if you intend to talk to someone for a long time over the course of a day. Never used it myself though so Im not sure if you can disconnect and reconnect for free.

RE: That can't be right
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/10/2008 12:08:44 PM , Rating: 3
In Illinois (or at least parts of Illinois), it's now a $500. fine if caught texting and driving. More if you are in an accident.
That should help stop people from texting and driving at the same time.

RE: That can't be right
By NullSubroutine on 10/10/2008 1:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
And this can be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt how again? Unless you have a rock solid witness that can testify that the person was texting (that actually saw the screen) and say, not just dialing their phone (which I have not seen a law that attempts to stop that) then this is a stupid law because it is not enforceable.

RE: That can't be right
By PrezWeezy on 10/10/2008 1:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
That's true if they are sending the first message, however if it can be proven that they sent a message durring the time they were on the road (which can be proven via the carrier's network), then it is beyond reasonable doubt. If you had a passenger it's possible that you could argue they texted for you, in which case I would agree. If you are driving alone, however, and you send a message, then get in an accident you should be ready to pony up the cash. Not that I agree with the law, just responding to your question of provability.

RE: That can't be right
By omnicronx on 10/10/2008 1:57:15 PM , Rating: 2
That's true if they are sending the first message, however if it can be proven that they sent a message durring the time they were on the road (which can be proven via the carrier's network), then it is beyond reasonable doubt.
That does not make sense, because what reasonable doubt would they have to check phone or phone records in the first place. A good lawyer would be all over that, for an illegal search.

RE: That can't be right
By Ryanman on 10/10/2008 2:07:51 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, Telcom companies distribute that information (and allow wiretapping etc.) without warrants on a regular basis, and are now immune to any sort of prosecution for it too. This happened a couple months ago.

RE: That can't be right
By NullSubroutine on 10/11/2008 7:30:31 AM , Rating: 4
The officer is still going to have to have probable cause for the arrest, unless someone see's them texting it isn't even going to get to the point where they can get the records.

And despite what you think, law enforcement still need a warrant for phone records such as these. I work in the field and recently had a case where we needed to get one.

It is a junk law that bogs down our already over-burdened criminal justice sytems. Just because you have the intent to save lives, doesn't mean it is a good law and doesn't mean it should be created.

RE: That can't be right
By masher2 on 10/11/2008 5:22:17 PM , Rating: 3
> "The officer is still going to have to have probable cause...despite what you think, law enforcement still need a warrant for phone records"

Despite what you might think, the "probable cause" in such a case is simply the accident itself. Do you think anyone saw the engineer of the LA commuter train texting? They subpoenaed his phone records as standard procedure for accident investigation.

I imagine most states with such no-texting laws on the books will probably begin to do so as matter of course for all serious road accidents.

RE: That can't be right
By NullSubroutine on 10/12/2008 7:42:59 AM , Rating: 4
I am not familar 100% with all the facts of the train accident case, but they received probable cause when some people came forward stating "they were texting him somewhere around the time of the crash". They aren't going to just get a warrant for his phone records just because they have a hunch.

There is also another difference in the case, the fact that subject was fatality, they could get his phone records as a matter of investigation of his death since he was the one that is dead. That is different than getting the other train engineer's phone records (without some probable cause to why they would need it).

It is not like probable cause is a big hurdle to get over, but you aren't going to just get phone records just for the hell of it, there has to be something to connect or articulated for the PC.

If there was someone that said "she was texting!" at the accident scene that would give them probable cause enough to get a warrant for the phone records, but even then, in court you have to prove the driver was the one with the phone, and at the time the text occured she was driving. It would have to be evidence the vehicle was moving and the driver did not stop to use the phone then start driving again.

If there was another person in the car, all the driver would have to say (with the other person backing them up) is the passenger was using it.

But everyone is missing the entire point, this law is not enforceable by itself, and if a person gets into an accident there are already laws that cover irresponsible driving to cause an accident that has a much lower burdern of proof. Like I have said in many different posts, it is a waste of a law and just burdens the justice system even more. It is probably used as a political coat hanger and to appease the mob that thinks there needs to be laws to prevent every little thing that someone can do.

RE: That can't be right
By mles1551 on 10/10/2008 3:20:51 PM , Rating: 4
You missed the point. It isn't supposed to be enforceable, its supposed to look good on billboards & tv ads.

Politics at their best.

RE: That can't be right
By Parhel on 10/10/2008 4:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
Following that same logic, seat belt laws are also stupid, as they would be similarly difficult to prove in a court of law. Heck, any law is stupid by that reasoning. Laws can't be based on how difficult or easy it is to prove that the law has been broken. For many, just having the law in place will serve as a deterrent, which should help to make the roads safer.

Incidentally, Chicago has gone one step further. It is illegal to talk on the phone within the city limits without the use of an earpiece or a speaker phone.

RE: That can't be right
By NullSubroutine on 10/11/2008 10:09:28 AM , Rating: 2
Except, seatbelt laws are enforceable because an officer can witness it. Unless there is some magical way to see into a car while it is driving and see the keypad and screen of the driver's cell phone, it is nothing like seeing a seat belt over the shoulder or not.

RE: That can't be right
By sprockkets on 10/11/2008 4:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Tell that to Britney Spears. Yes, she gets more than the usual attention, but hey, it is possible.

Nowadays though, stuff probably like was your seatbelt fastened at the time of an accident, will be readily known due to the black box law that went into effect.

RE: That can't be right
By mindless1 on 10/11/2008 8:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
An officer can also, often see someone pecking away on their phone. Let's at least HOPE people are holding the phone up so it's near their correct field of vision for driving instead of an ever worse distraction.

Person gets into accident, or person is fiddling with phone, there is suspicion and person denies it so there's an order to see if there was texting during the time period of the accusation. That's more damning than just the officer's word that you weren't wearing a seatbelt versus yours that you were.

Of course it could be a passenger, but if you are driving erratically that is what usually gets the officer's attention in the first place and if it's your phone not the passenger's, a message addressed to you or sent as if it were you, there aren't a lot of people who will believe a claim that you just happened to start driving erratically because someone else was using your phone and really what would the difference be, the goal is still the same to improve the safety by not allowing these things to be distractions.

RE: That can't be right
By ira176 on 10/12/2008 4:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
The law has probably been written such as, if the officer sees you holding the cell phone in your hand while driving, (lets say the driver is looking at the phone in their hand and pushing buttons, while driving), then he has presumptive evidence that the driver was texting.

RE: That can't be right
By Indianapolis on 10/12/2008 1:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
Here in Indiana most traffic violations are considered "infractions" rather than "crimes". As such, the burden of proof is only "preponderance of the evidence" (like in civil court) rather than "beyond reasonable doubt". That means the state only has to make a good case that the person was probably committing the infraction in question.

The difference between the two standards is why O.J. was able to get off in criminal court, but was found liable in civil court.

I believe many other states are now the same way. This helps keep traffic court from turning into a three ring circus when some rich kid gets a speeding ticket and hires an attorney to fight it.

RE: That can't be right
By Souka on 10/10/2008 6:24:28 PM , Rating: 2
In California Arnie is proud to sign-in their anti-texting law...

If caught texting while driving... $20 fine 1st offense, $50 each offense after..... so pathetic... costs the tax payers for each stop.

RE: That can't be right
By Clauzii on 10/12/2008 11:30:29 PM , Rating: 2
And after offence #200 they'll take Your phone for six months, and install a red button in Your car to call ONLY when emergency occurs :))

Which means rich ones can just pay away or what?

RE: That can't be right
By on 10/13/2008 7:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
we all know its the women(who dont know how to drive) driving the massive 4wd's that are the issue.

Charge Verizon Customers
By drzoo2 on 10/10/2008 11:57:45 AM , Rating: 2
These services should single out Verizon then and charge the people that use them while continuing their current offering for the rest of the carriers. That way it becomes apparent where the extra money is going.

"Verizon Free for 2 years"


RE: Charge Verizon Customers
By Fant on 10/10/2008 3:26:01 PM , Rating: 5
I agree... ESPN should charge a fee to Verizon users only and customers of other carriers would continue to get it free. That way Verizon customers can go complain to Verizon. Verizon already makes money by charging the end user for text messages either on a per msg basis or monthly fee so this is double dipping.

How about email?
By jimbojimbo on 10/10/2008 1:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure about Verizon but to send text messages on TMobile you just email an address. What's to stop them from just sending emails to all those numbers instead?

RE: How about email?
By Fant on 10/10/2008 3:27:35 PM , Rating: 4
They will just stop accepting email from the server sending massive amounts of emails.

In other words....
By Tegrat on 10/10/2008 11:41:17 AM , Rating: 3
Verizon Wireless' Brenda Raney told RCR Wireless, "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....

Someone needs a new Jag!

RE: In other words....
By Clauzii on 10/12/2008 11:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
Probably the phone companies way of saying 'We wan't to be part of the economics crisis too!'

By TomCorelis on 10/11/2008 12:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm calling BS. I'm having a hard time believing the fact that sending a text message costs anything at all. The process is entirely digital...

RE: Shenanigans!
By Clauzii on 10/12/2008 11:32:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well, a little power are used after all :) But probably in the 0.00000x cent range or something..

By ira176 on 10/12/2008 4:34:00 AM , Rating: 2
"Verizon says that the fee increase is to cover the costs it incurs sending the messages on its network."

I can't imagine that Verizon is incuring any extra costs for text messages going over its network. The infrastructer is there already, and text messaging uses such a minuscule amount of the available network bandwith. This is probably a fee to help reap greater profits, not to keep up with costs as they would have you believe.

RE: okay
By Denithor on 10/13/2008 8:17:21 AM , Rating: 2
But our regulatory groups are too stupid to know any better, or the lobbiests have done their jobs & paid off the officials to look the other way. Shortly ATT/T-mobile/etc will follow suit making texting even more expensive.

By SpaceRanger on 10/10/2008 11:42:53 AM , Rating: 2
So the companies get charged more for sending text messages to users who subscribe to services. The company will then end up either charging for the text service or drop it all together. Currently I receive text messages from ESPN. I betcha they roll up the "sports score updating" service into their inSider service (which you have to pay for monthly). All this means is ESPN gets more money (From new subscibers to their service), and Verizon gets more money for charging the companies higher rates. The end-user loses out in that they are the ones who end up paying for this rate hike.

Thank you!
By Screwballl on 10/10/2008 8:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe now we will see less of these dumb "send a text message to 66589 for your 30 free ringtones (after which we will charge you $30 a month for a limit of 5 ringtones a month unless you read the fine print on an obscure website stating you must send a text to 65028 with the text "cancel", and another to 62765 to our billing with the text "cancellation". We are not responsible for improper spelling.)"

As for ESPN and MT services, they can afford an extra $1000 a month for the 30,000 texts they send out monthly. Text as it was originally started was meant to be person to person, not business to person.

By SiliconAddict on 10/10/2008 11:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
they nickle and dime you to death.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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