Archive for Text Messaging

Rogers Introduces Worldwide Text Messaging Packs

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 26, 2009 by itnerd

It always surprises me when I get an e-mail from “my new best friends from Rogers” seeing as I am quite critical of them at times. Today’s e-mail from Rogers has details about new plan to save those who text message while overseas some cash:

Hello,

Thought your readers might be interested to know that Rogers has introduced new worldwide text messaging travel packs to reduce costs for travelling customers. The new travel packs are good for one month and there is no charge for incoming text messages – a home and while roaming for the length of the plan.

There are three different travel packs available:

  • $10 gives you access to 50-cent text messages worldwide for one month – 33% discount
  • $20 gives you access to 40-cent text messages worldwide for one month – 47% discount
  • $35 gives you access to 35-cent text messages worldwide for one month – 60% discount

Check Rogers.com for more details.

I could have used this when I was in Germany last year as my wife would text message me rather than e-mail me and I ended up with a rather large bill at the end of the month. This is actually pretty good. One thing to note is that you need to add this BEFORE you leave on your trip.

I guess the prospect of having competition in the wireless marketplace is having a positive effect on Rogers.

Rogers To Start Charging For Incoming Text Messages…. WTF?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 5, 2009 by itnerd

Kudos to Christopher Parsons for giving me the heads up on this story.

You’ll recall the trouble that Bell Canada got into when they started to charge users that didn’t have text messaging plans for incoming text messages. Well according to The Boy Genius Report, Rogers has decided to do the same:

Beginning July 7th, incoming SMS will run plan-less subscribers 15¢ per message — the same rate as outgoing texts. Customers with text messaging plans will continue to receive unlimited free incoming SMS. Rogers customers will find information to this effect circulated via bill inserts that will begin going out today.

Oh, for those of you on Fido, this doen’t apply to you.

In any case, it doesn’t take a genius to see that this is clearly a cash grab by Rogers. Perhaps they were hoping that their news about Twitter via SMS would mute any comsumer outrage?

Telcos Are Ripping You Off For Text Messages…. But You Knew That Right?

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 29, 2008 by itnerd

Text message rates have been rising over the last few years. For example you’ve got a couple of carriers here in Canada who charge you for incoming text messages. All of these rate increases are done under the guise that it is expensive for carriers to provide this service due to the demands that it puts on their infrastructure. Now there’s proof that the carriers are flat out lying about this. The New York Times published an article over the weekend that has some interesting facts. For example:

A text message initially travels wirelessly from a handset to the closest base-station tower and is then transferred through wired links to the digital pipes of the telephone network, and then, near its destination, converted back into a wireless signal to traverse the final leg, from tower to handset. In the wired portion of its journey, a file of such infinitesimal size is inconsequential. Srinivasan Keshav, a professor of computer science at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, said: “Messages are small. Even though a trillion seems like a lot to carry, it isn’t.”

If that doesn’t get you upset, this will:

Perhaps the costs for the wireless portion at either end are high — spectrum is finite, after all, and carriers pay dearly for the rights to use it. But text messages are not just tiny; they are also free riders, tucked into what’s called a control channel, space reserved for operation of the wireless network.

That’s why a message is so limited in length: it must not exceed the length of the message used for internal communication between tower and handset to set up a call. The channel uses space whether or not a text message is inserted.

So what that means is that as long as the telcos have room for voice calls, they have room for text messages at no extra cost to them as long as you keep the message short (which most phones automatically force you to do).

Oh, but there’s more:

Once one understands that a text message travels wirelessly as a stowaway within a control channel, one sees the carriers’ pricing plans in an entirely new light. The most profitable plan for the carriers will be the one that collects the most revenue from the customer: unlimited messaging, for which AT&T and Sprint charge $20 a month and T-Mobile, $15.

Customers with unlimited plans, like diners bringing a healthy appetite to an all-you-can-eat cafeteria, might think they’re getting the best out of the arrangement. But the carriers, unlike the cafeteria owners, can provide unlimited quantities of “food” at virtually no cost to themselves — so long as it is served in bite-sized portions.

What scumbags!

Will this revelation change things? Thats hard for me to say. But don’t think for a second that carriers won’t figure out another way to screw you over generate replacement revenue if this is taken away from them.

“The Governator” Bans Texting While Driving In California

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 29, 2008 by itnerd

I’m not sure how I missed this last week, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that terminates makes it illegal to text message while driving:

“Banning electronic text messaging while driving will keep drivers’ hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, making our roadways a safer place for all Californians,” Schwarzenegger said in a written statement.

The law goes into effect on Jan. 1.  If you get caught by SkyNET the cops, you’ll get nailed with a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. This is a good move as I have seen too many examples of people not paying attention to driving because they’re 2 bZ txtN their bff. Hopefully other jurisdictions copy what Arnie has done so that we can say hasta la vista baby to texting while driving.

Text Messaging Rates Gets The Attention Of A Senator

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 10, 2008 by itnerd

The Wall Street Journal has a story about a US Senator who wonders why text messaging rates are so high. Senator Herb Kohl (D. Wis.) sent letters to the top four telcos asking them to justify their text messaging rates:

“What is particularly alarming about this industrywide rate increase is that it does not appear to be justified by rising costs in delivering text messages,” Sen. Kohl’s letter said. “Text-messaging files are very small, as the size of text messages are generally limited to 160 characters per message, and therefore cost carriers very little to transmit.”

One has to wonder why someone doesn’t have a sudden outbreak of common sense like this in Canada. I appauld this Senator for doing this as these telcos have to be made to understand that they can’t simply rape and pillage take advantage of their customers. The real question is if anything will come of it.

Bell And Telus To Jim Prentice: We Will Not Charge For Text Message Spam But We Will Charge For Incoming Text Messages… Prentice Replies: Cool…. Consumers Still Shafted

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on August 8, 2008 by itnerd

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the totally impotent Industry Minister Jim Prentice who was talking tough with both Bell and Telus in regards to their plan to charge for incoming text messages has caved. The best he could apparently do is get guarantees that text messaging spam will be promptly rebated to the customer (Which for those of you not keeping score, Bell and Telus had said they were going to do anyway). He also said the following in a release titled “Minister Of Industry Stands Up For Consumers On Text Messaging Fees“:

“Given these undertakings by Bell Mobility and TELUS, I would encourage consumers dissatisfied with existing plans to seek alternatives. The telecommunications market in Canada is dynamic — choice is available. “

Question: Is this guy living in the same universe as the rest of us? There’s only a handful of choices in Canada to begin with. Realistically, you’ve only got three. Bell, Rogers/Fido, and Telus. Any other providers that are out there are simply reselling service from one of those three. So if you’re ticked at Bell or Telus (and you are not in a contract that will cost you a small fortune to break), your only real choice is to go to Rogers/Fido (who have proved to be no geniuses themselves with the whole iPhone circus before sort of caving under the pressure).

How is that choice? How is that standing up for consumers?

I guess the only hope if you don’t want to run to Rogers (and get Rogered in the process) is to hope that this class action lawsuit is successful. Clearly the Industry Mininster can only talk the talk, but won’t or can’t walk the walk.

Prentice Suggests Federal Regulations Coming If Telcos Don’t Drop Incoming Text Message Fees…. Whatever…

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on July 31, 2008 by itnerd

The normally useless and ineffective Industry Minister Jim Prentice is trying to show himself as being perhaps a bit useful for once. He is now talking tough about the intention of Telus and Bell charge for incoming text messages:

“We don’t have a heavy regulatory burden on the cellular industry,” Mr. Prentice told reporters during a media availability outside a Conservative caucus planning session.

“That’s something that we have tried to maintain in Canada. At the end of the day, consumers do need to be protected,” he added.

Okay. That’s a great sound bite. But this springs to mind when I hear him say that. It seems to me that he’s picking an issue that hits a lot of potential Conservative party voters people in the wallet that scores a few cheap political points (seeing as the Conservatives are in a minority government situation which means the plug can be pulled if the opposition parties get really ticked at them). Where was this tough talk when it comes to net neutrality? It’s nowhere to be seen as that issue clearly doesn’t matter to him.

Much as I’d like to applaud him for taking a stand on this issue, I find that I can’t do so as his response is clearly disingenuous.

Bell & Telus Face Class Action Lawsuits Over Text Fee….. Sux 2 B Thm!

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on July 28, 2008 by itnerd

You’ll recall that Canadians hit the roof when Bell and Telus decided to charge for incoming text messages. It was so upsetting that the normally usless Industry Minister Jim Prentice called both Bell and Telus on the carpet to explain this. Not to mention the NDP decided to start a petition to stop this. Now there’s a new development. Bell and Telus are being sued by a Montreal man who is ticked off enough by this to try and hit them where it hurts.  Oh yeah, the suit is one of the class action variety, so it will really hurt if it is certified. This is not the first class action lawsuit that these two money hungry scumbags companies are facing. A second suit was filed on July 14th by the same law firm. If you want to add your name to this, click here for the info on the Telus suit, and click here for the Bell one. Both links are in French, so I have provided English links for both Bell and Telus as well via Google Translate.

Let’s see if Bell and Telus do the smart thing and back away from this idiotic idea.

NDP Starts Petition To Stop Bell And Telus From Charging For Incoming Text Messages

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on July 10, 2008 by itnerd

It seems that the NDP (as usual) has stepped up to the plate with a petition to stop Telus and Bell from charging for incoming text messages (as I wrote about previously):

“With everyday Canadians already paying more for wireless phone services than subscribers in the US and Europe, an additional fee on incoming text messages – including spam and unwanted messages – is unfair.”

I wonder how many more of these will pop up in the next few days? The more of these appear, the more likely that Bell and Telus will fold like cheap suits.

Thanks to Julien” for bringing this to my attention.

Bell And Telus To Charge For Incoming Text Messages…. Even For Spam… WTF? [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , on July 9, 2008 by itnerd

Clearly Bell and Telus haven’t been paying attention to the firestorm that erupted with Rogers and their iPhone pricing. These two companies have come up with the absolutely brilliant idea to charge $0.15 to RECEIVE text messages. Of course you can avoid that by subscribing to a text messaging bundle. Gee what a shock!

Bell sent the Globe And Mail this response via sock puppet spokesperson Jason Laszlo (who you’ll recall trashed journalists on his Facebook page and called them “lemmings”):

“Remember that almost all major North American wireless carriers, including in Canada, have taken this pricing approach,” wrote Bell spokesman Jason Laszlo in an e-mail to The Globe. “In fact, most carriers in the U.S. now charge 20 cents.”

While that’s true, it doesn’t stop Canadians from being ticked off at you. Telus for its part said this through its sock puppet spokesperson:

““The growth in text messages has been nothing short of phenomenal,” wrote Telus spokeswoman Anne-Julie Gratton in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail, referring to the latest statistics from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association that pegs the number of text messages sent in Canada at more than 45.3 million per day.

“This volume places tremendous demands on our network and we can’t afford to provide this service for free any more,” Ms. Gratton wrote.”

Clearly Rogers doesn’t have that issue as they don’t charge for incoming text messages (at least today they don’t). Why don’t they charge for text messages? I’ll let their sock puppet spokesperson explain:

“As of now, Rogers will not charge customers for incoming text messages, spokeswoman Elizabeth Hamilton said.

“I would say it’s a unique differentiator for Rogers,” she said, declining to speculate about the company’s future plans.”

That I believe translates to “If the pushback isn’t that great, we’ll join in and screw our customers too.”

Oh, if you get any SPAM and you don’t have a text messaging plan, you get nailed for that too. Although both carriers can help you with that:

“If a client is experiencing an ongoing issue with spam, the client has the option of changing their phone number,” Mr. Laszlo wrote. “The $25 fee will be waived if a previous client was registered to the phone number and may have solicited spam service.”

And what if that isn’t the case? Will you not change my number? Even if you do, there’s a cost associated with that? Simply having free incoming text messages must cost less than that.

For what it’s worth, Telus isn’t much better:

“Ms. Gratton from Telus said if customers receive a message that they shouldn’t receive, they can call Telus to remove the charge from their bill.”

Great. But that won’t stop the spam. Also, will I have to be on hold for 20 minutes with your customer service month after month if this is an ongoing issue? How much does that cost you? Surely free incoming text messaging is cheaper to do?

I’m guessing that protest sites are being set up right now to pressure these idiots carriers to change their minds. Let the fireworks begin.

UPDATE: The fireworks have begun. The usually useless Industry Minister Jim Prentice has proven for once to be useful. He’s calling Bell and Telus on the carpet to explain this. Wow! But if he really wants to impress me, he should deal with that net neutrality issue. Then there’s that copyright bill as well.