T-Mobile: America’s New Bastard
September 27, 2010 10 Comments
Voogle (the pact between Google and Verizon Wireless) hasn’t killed the Net Neutrality yet, but many wireless carriers have already started their abuse. The new bastard is “T-Mobile” which happens to be my own carrier too 😦 Their case is yet classic example of a totally arbitrary decision by a carrier to block text message calls between consumers and organizations they want to communicate with.
T-Mobile has been sued by a text-message marketing company, for allegedly blocking access to the T-Mobile network because of a client that provided information on medical marijuana. Ez Texting, a company that helps businesses send marketing text messages to large numbers of people, filed the suit on Sept 16th. The company provides the behind-the- scenes infrastructure for the type of ad that asks consumers to text a specific word to a specific number to get more information on a product.
Meawhile, T-Mobile is exempting Twitter and Facebook which send collectively about 15 times as many messages to T-Mobile users than ChaCha does from the new charges because they won’t be subject to the tax like ChaCha and others. If Twitter had to endure this tax across all carriers, it would cost them about $50 million annually, based on their Q2 2010 Nielsen-reported text traffic. If the “text tax” had been in place over the past few years, it would have made it impossible for Twitter to have grown or prospered.
What this means is that T-Mobile has decided on behalf of their customers that having access to the world’s largest repository of questions and answers is “not appropriate.” While you may not be a ChaCha user, think what will happen if T-Mobile’s text tax does impact one of the services you DO use and like, such as Zynga, ESPN, NFL, NBA, Fox, Foursquare, USA Today, the Weather Channel, Yahoo, AOL, or Google.
The company’s “text tax” move will completely stifle innovation in the space, further harming T-Mobile customers. This is also clearly a Net Neutrality issue as it applies to wireless services and their operators. Without consulting its customers, T-Mobile is implementing a pricing structure that removes rights from their customers to utilize what we think are pretty valuable free services.
While I would agree that the carrier has the right to choose their own business model and to charge what they want, I think it’s also important to remember how much of the money they make goes towards corporate profits instead of improving their network and service.
Net Neutrality is a power struggle between corporate interests and consumer interests, and I think T-Mobile will soon have to realize that none of their customers give a DAMN about their profits, they want a good product; and a good product, in the internet or wireless world, is one that allows the consumer the most freedom.