Verizon Digs Itself Deeper With SMS Statement

A day after the news broke that Verizon Wireless was planning to increase the price on outgoing SMS messages, the carrier issued a statement trying take it back.

Verizon now claims the 3-cent hike on outgoing text messages is just an idea. And besides, the carrier says, it would only affect aggregators, so it’s the aggregators’ fault if everyone else gets that price increase passed onto them.

That’s what it boils down to, though you have to slog through a lot of pretty words (“our friends in the nonprofit and public policy arenas”) to figure it out. Ugh. If you can stomach it, here’s the statement:

“As Verizon Wireless continues to review the competitive marketplace, we constantly work to provide additional value to our customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

“We are currently assessing how to best address the changing messaging marketplace, and are communicating with messaging aggregators, our valued content partners, our technology business partners, and, importantly, our friends in the nonprofit and public policy arenas.

“To that end, we recently notified text messaging aggregators — those for-profit companies that provide services to content providers to aggregate and bill for their text messaging programs — that we are exploring ways to offset significantly increased costs for delivering billions upon billions of text messages each month.

“Specific information in one proposal, which would impose a small per-message fee on for-profit content aggregators for commercial messages, has been mistakenly characterized as a final decision to implement. We don’t envision this type of change to in any way affect nonprofit organizations or political and advocacy organizations.

“We have not increased the per-message cost to aggregators since our messaging service began in 2003, and we have never envisioned a cost to consumers or content companies, but rather on content aggregators themselves. That draft was intended to stimulate internal business discussions and in no way should have been been released to the public and represented as a final document.

“At Verizon Wireless, we strive to provide our messaging customers with maximum value, and work to implement business decisions that encourage the use of messaging between individuals and organizations in both the marketplace of ideas and the commercial marketplace, and we will continue to strongly encourage the use of our services by charitable organizations as they perform their good works.”