US Cellular Creates Taxing Problem for SMS Marketers

Brazenly undeterred by the backlash T-Mobile and Verizon experienced in recent years while pulling a similar stunt, the powers that be at US Cellular are moving forward with plans to begin charging SMS providers a messaging tax to send messages to US Cellular customers.

News of the tax came via the carrier’s freshly updated Commercial Terms, which dictate that SMS providers will start getting slapped with these added charges very, very soon. We’re talking January 1, 2013.

The tax in question will fall on all incoming messages to the US Cellular Network.

Compounding the frustration of some in the mobile marketing industry today is that these freshly minted charges will be added to the SMS messaging fees already incumbent upon SMS marketing providers.

It goes without saying that Derek Johnson, CEO of SMS marketing firm Tatango, isn’t thrilled about the news. And you can already detect across the blogosphere that there’s a swelling army of like-minded consumers and industry professionals.

“This action will likely result in US Cellular customers being unable to access SMS services offered by businesses, emergency services and local groups and organizations as the cost to support this wireless carrier will become to large,” Johnson writes on the Tatango blog today. “This will force US Cellular customers to move wireless carriers to gain access to these popular services. Is this really what you want US Cellular?”

Time will only tell if US Cellular will manage to get its druthers on the matter. But if the backlash proves as substantial as some expect, the carrier may be forced to follow the example of its predecessors and back off of what many are calling an altogether unfair tax.

Do you think US Cellar is justified in raising SMS rates on SMS marketing providers? Please share your thoughts, comments, or criticisms below.