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Canadian gov't won't stop inbound SMS fees

updated 03:55 pm EDT, Fri August 8, 2008

Canada on Inbound SMS

The ruling Conservative Party government in Canada has "no intention" of banning fees carriers want to charge for incoming SMS messages, the country's Minister of Industry Jim Prentice said today. While Bell Canada and Telus have both drawn criticism for plans that would see each carrier charge 15 cents for each incoming message outside of bundles, potentially forcing subscribers to pay for spam, Prentice argues that forcing these companies to allow incoming text for free would interfere with their businesses.

The announcement follows a meeting with officials from both Bell and Telus, which Prentice claims assured him would filter out spam and refund customers who are charged for unsolicited ads. Critics, including the New Democratic Party, have previously retorted that the move is nonetheless a "cash grab" to profit off of frequent texting and push customers towards pricier bundles.

The Minister also unusually claims that Canadians have the option of leaving for another carrier. "The telecommunications market in Canada is dynamic -- choice is available," he claims.

His statement comes despite the existence of only three national cellular providers in Canada, with only Rogers left offering incoming SMS for free. The latter has so far mentioned no plans to charge for incoming text but has alternately been criticized for its relatively high data rates.

Other companies exist in Canada but have often remained regional-only carriers, as firms such as Rogers have often bought out firms with a larger presence. The field isn't set to widen until 2009 or 2010, when winners from the recent government wireless auction will first establish their own cellular networks.

by MacNN Staff



  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    let the free market decide.

  1. Mackinstyle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No, wrong.

    This is a very limited free market. Remember that most customers have 1-3 year contracts, meaning that they can't simply get up and leave for another company. They get milked many months before they can change.

    Oh and Rogers may be the only main company left, but small ones (that buy from Rogers/Bell in bulk) such as PC Mobile are still around. I use PC Mobile (Bell network)and it is great. Zero fees and no incoming text fee.

    I'm going to get pissed when cheap-o friends complain about me sending them texts. I may just stop altogether.

  1. dmsimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    There is no such thing as a free market.

    Capitalism does not breed democracy. Democracy breeds capitalism, and that's where you're confused.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's not that easy

    You're also bound by the technology of the phone you have. If you bought an expensive smart phone that uses GSM you can only use Roger in Canada. Where is the freedom of choice here? Dump your expensive phone in the garbage and buy a new one. Our government is DUMB and needs to be replaced soon. We need competition and we need it NOW. Monopoly is only good when it's the game, not when it affects so many lives and only serves to enrich a few pockets in detriment of so many. Down with monopoly.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In America...

    Further south, in the US, incoming text and voice isn't free. Regardless of who calls or why, you pay for it. At least for incoming calls, you can choose not to answer if you don't want to pay. For SMS, though, you have no choice. Unscrupulous carriers could easily figure out schemes to spam you with some cheesy marketing for which you end up paying some $0.20 per message. The only way out of it is to sign up for some (additional $$$) SMS plan.

  1. Geobunny

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You guys pay for INCOMING text messages?! No bleedin' wonder it hasn't taken off over there like it has here!

    Here in the UK, there's no charge to receive SMS/MMS messages (except from premium numbers to which you have to send a text first) and most people have "free" outgoing texts built into their tariff.

  1. jstephe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Get out of Jail Free

    If the carriers are allowed to change your contract mid stream you should be allowed to dump them penalty free. Sort of a get out of jail free card, this where the government should step in if they wont stop them from changing the terms of your contract then they should require a clause that allows you to walk away penalty free.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No get out of jail free..

    They aren't changing anything mid-contract. The plan is to charge new subscribers. Existing contracts will (obviously) not be broken.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fido is another choice

    Yes, Fido is owned by Rogers but they offer different plans and options and both Rogers and Fido offer unlimited incoming Texts.

    I went with Fido because of the earlier evenings and weekend options and 30 bucks for 6GB is not that bad especially considering that I might go for an even cheaper plan as I've barely used more than 100MB in my first month with an iPhone.

  1. DeanoDee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Corporate shill

    Jim Prentice is a traitor and a coward. Par for the course jimmy! He's also tying to push through a digital millennium type copywrite act that only accommodates foreign lobbyists. If you're Canadian, wake up and vote these corporate shills out of office. By the way, the complete communications market place (cable, internet, land line and cell phones) are controlled by a duo-gopoly with a few regional players and Telus. There is no choice and there is price collusion. The free market's dead.

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