Monday, July 14, 2008

Incoming message text chargesssssss not on the horizon for Prince Rupert

With the big players of technology planning to charge mobile users 15 cents for each incoming text message they receive, Prince Rupert will apparently be bucking the trend for now, as neither CityWest or Rogers' have plans at the moment to follow the lead of Bell or Telus.

With CityWest still dealing with the arrival of Rogers into the marketplace, moving to a charge basis for incoming messages most likely would have resulted in more than a few locals changing over to the Rogers service which has remained charge free so far.

The controversial move from the likes of Bell and Telus seems designed to motivate users to sign on to a long lasting plan with their text service providers. At least that is what can be divined from a statement from Bell, which suggested that the new charges will only affect about five percent of their customers who don't at the moment subscribe to one of the company's numerous plans.

For many folks the freedom to pay as they go is almost a mantra, so the prospect of being tied down to one or the other company in order to get a break on text messaging isn't going to sit well, nor it seems is it something that the Federal Government is all that keen on, considering the recent interest by the Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice.
For its part the NDP has launched an online petition to fight back against what it calls just another cash grab by the phone services.

The Daily News had details on the local angle of all the controversy as part of the Friday paper.

Local telecoms firms not joining 'cash grab'
The Daily News
Friday, July 11, 2008
Page three

Although Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility's recent text message fees announcement has angered wireless customers, Ruperites don't have to worry about racking up bigger bills.

CityWest has no intention of adopting the new incoming messages pricing scheme.

"At this time, we have no plan to start charging for incoming texts," said CityWest sales and marketing manager, Chad Cunningham.

Rogers Wireless also offers free incoming text messages to its customers and has not released any plans to start charging extra.

Bell and Telus's announcement that starting in August they would be charging pay-per-use customers for incoming text messages has raised the ire of the public.

The service was previously provided for free. The two wireless carriers are implementing a 15-cent fee per text, even for spam and unsolicited messages.

The federal New Democratic Party has already launched on online 'stop the text message cash-grab' petition. Since the launch of the petition on Tuesday afternoon, it has received more than 5,000 signatures.

Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice is also unimpressed with the new charge, saying that the decision to charge users will harm consumers.

Prentice has asked the chief executive officers of both companies to meet him in Ottawa before Aug. 8 to explain their decision.

"There's probably a lot more to this story than people know at this point," said Cunningham. "We'll wait and see what these guys roll out and how they're going to do it."

According to the latest figures from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, there are 1.4 billion text messages sent per month in Canada. That's an average of 45.3 million messages being sent every day.

Telus said that the volume of messages has put an enormous strain on their network and the company said it can no longer afford to provide the service for free.

Bell also defends its decision, saying that the new charge doesn't affect clients who are on text bundles. About 95 per cent of Bell customers are on text plans, so the new rate will only affect 5 per cent of its clients. The company recommends anyone who plans to send or receive a significant amount of text messages to sign up for a plan.

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