T-Mobile to Implement a Twitter Tax on Texts?

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In a move that could impact text messaging offerings like tweets, bank alerts and sports scores, T-Mobile USA is planning to charge an additional toll to businesses that send texts over its network. Beginning Oct. 1, the carrier reportedly will charge a toll of one-quarter of one cent to businesses for every SMS delivered to its customers. That’s right, the Twitters of the world could soon have to pay to send your texts.

The move mirrors a similar — but much more costly — effort from Verizon Wireless two years ago. In 2008, Verizon told its business partners it would begin charging three cents per text alert, but abandoned the plan after tremendous backlash from text companies that resulted in coverage in mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times.

While Verizon eventually (and lamely) dismissed its effort as a mere “proposal,” industry insiders have long expected other carriers to adopt similar charges to increase revenues from the business-to-consumer texts — a space that is exploding as corporations and social networks discover the value of communicating via text. The new toll may seem insignificant, but it could impact the bottom lines of a wide variety of companies like Facebook, Twitter, 4INFO and others that send huge numbers of texts to their users. T-Mobile representatives weren’t immediately available for comment, but I’ll update this post if and when I hear from them.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): What SMS Marketers Can Learn From the Ringtone Space

Image courtesy Flickr user TheTruthAbout.

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