As the saga of T-Mobile’s SMS price hike continues, ChaCha CEO Scott Jones has been one of the most vocal personalities against the concept, saying ChaCha will completely stop its service over the T-Mobile network if and when the rate increase commences. Add to it a lawsuit filed on Friday against T-Mobile by EZ Texting for blocking it’s short code, and the issue of net neutrality becomes all to relevant.
In an open letter guest post published on TechCrunch this weekend, Jones describes the need for net neutrality to apply to mobile platforms as well, offering several examples of carriers be selective in the mobile services they allow consumers, with the aforementioned situations surrounding T-Mobile being the most recent.
“T-Mobile plans to suddenly institute a charge for every text message that ChaCha’s messaging aggregator sends on ChaCha’s behalf to T-Mobile customers. Never mind that T-Mobile is already making a small fortune charging their customers for text plans or on a per-text basis, and never mind that T-Mobile already charged profitable and fair rates to aggregators and content providers including ChaCha,” said Jones. “Noted global expert on mobile telecom, Tomi Ahonen has written that, for carriers, texting is ‘the most profitable mass market service in the economic history of mankind…with a profit margin [that] is north of 98%.’ Oh, and by the way, in the second quarter of 2010, T- Mobile USA reported service revenues of $4.70 billion up from $4.63 billion in the first quarter of 2010.”
Jones argues that by T-Mobile only levying the increase to those going through aggregators, their logic is irrational due to the fact that Twitter and Facebook — who won’t see their fees increase — are the ones responsible for the influx of SMS messages being sent over its network.
“Interestingly, 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 the rest of us,” he continues. “Even more interesting is that, to the extent T-Mobile has any congestion from all the increased texting, Twitter and Facebook are driving the lion’s share of the explosion of texts coming from content providers, so why are all the other publishers footing the bill on behalf of Twitter and Facebook? Because this charge will be passed along to ChaCha, amounting to a 600% price increase on October 1st, we have no choice but to drop T- Mobile customers from our SMS service, unless something changes.”