T-Mobile: America’s New Bastard

(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.

T-Mobile also plans to rip off ChaCha, the mobile search company  for every text message ChaCha’s messaging aggregator sends on ChaCha’s behalf to T-Mobile customers.

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.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and telezoo.com that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @ awesomize.me

10 Responses to T-Mobile: America’s New Bastard

  1. Personally, I happy that my carrier is blocking un solicited text messages from advertisers. Very few things irritate me more.

    • Lisa says:

      THey are not blocking unsolicited text messages they are blocking a free service that you sign up for and receive messaged from based on a question that you email in….So you are expecting a response…..I think this is BS and will be canclling my service if they go through with this “text tax”

      • marks3 says:

        EZ text wasnt following certain regulations on the type of content they were sending, so tmobile blocked them, becuase under that violation they have the right to. it has NOTHING to do with the content.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think the only reason T-Mobile is being blasted for this is that they’re rich. They’ve got tons of money, but they don’t want to let other companies use their equipment and service without sharing the profit they make from doing so. What, did you think these companies were nobly performing a priceless public service without a thought for their own pocketbooks? Ha! They give it away for “free” knowing that the public love of freebies will ensure a MASSIVE advertising audience. I’m not saying that T-Mobile isn’t being greedy by grubbing every dime they can, but it is their equipment, service, and technology being used so they’re not without some entitlement. Like I suggested, the companies complaining about being affected by this move are not performing charitable favors for the karma of it.

  3. Bob Bitchin says:

    In my experience (which involves traveling outside major metropolitan areas) T-Mobile has the WORST coverage of all the carriers. I can see why they wouldn’t want to share what limited signal they CAN utilize. That being said, if you try to cancel your service before your contract is up, expect to pay some hefty fees. As far as sharing equipment, in the past year T-Mobile has been REDUCING the capacity of their network by having Verizon pull their circuit from the towers they were previously using (which were Verizon towers). Chew on that.

    • marks3 says:

      tmobile cant use verizon towers and never has becuase verizon operates on CDMA and tmobile is GSM. pretty simple. same for sprint. tmobile can only roam and share signal with other GSM carriers.

  4. Tracy Lynn says:

    I am with T-Mobile and I am happy to hear this. I read the ‘spin’ on it but come on, this IS just a cry from the companies that want to spam my cell phone. I wasn’t born yesterday. BRAVO T-Mobile! That’s why I am a loyal customer.

  5. Jc says:


    You don’t understand the “spin” of it. Call and ask T-Mobile to block your child from texting that horoscope thing on tv. Most reps will say you can’t do it. Some will inform you that blocking mobile content downloads from T-Mobile will block it(It does. It blocks all SMS short codes)

    This Text Tax is affecting companies that do not pay this with other carriers. These companies are banks, CHA CHA and the ones above. Legitimate companies, that follow the rules of texting and the “STOP” command. You may not want to use these. You may not even understand the use of these. The vast majority of them are NOT spam. They are requested, by the end user. An example would be the Theme Park near me. Kennywood Park. They have signs in their park that have trivia on them. You guess the answer amongst your group then text to find out who’s correct. T-Mobile would charge them and you for that text message. All other carriers would not charge both.

    So, I agree. Spam Bad. If T-Mobile wanted to block spam, then when I called to ask for a refund of that $9.99 charge month after month that they say they added it to their black list, then they would, indeed, blacklist it. But, since the spam companies that actually charge you already give a kick back to T-Mobile, They wont and just hope I don’t realize it. Double charging though, has no benefit for the consumer, provides no protection, and has no benefit, except, Corporate Profits. Buy Stock Now! Before it tumbles tomorrow.

  6. Jack says:

    T-Mobile in the UK haven’t been net neutral for over a year. If you want to use Facebook, Spotify, Last.fm anything “normal” on T-Mobile phones, that’s fine. Want to use FTP? Sorry, we don’t allow that. The worst part is the lies. I e-mailed them and asked why FTP was blocked, and they said it wasn’t. Strange how 3 seperate FTP clients reported no network connection on 3G but it worked on wifi. Same goes for IRC. And they are cunning. Try to get around these blocks with web apps? No cigar, they’re blocked too. Can we co-adopt them as the UK’s New Bastard too?

  7. lacoste uk says:

    I think the post is good for us.that’s fine. Want to use FTP? Sorry, we don’t allow that. The worst part is the lies. I e-mailed them and asked why FTP was blocked, and they said it wasn’t. Strange how 3 seperate FTP clients reported no network connection on 3G but

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