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ChaCha to Drop T-Mobile in Response to “Twitter Tax”

The mobile search startup ChaCha said it will “absolutely drop T-Mobile” from its service if the carrier moves ahead with plans to charge companies for delivering text messages to subscribers on its network.

“We prefer that T-Mobile not take this step,” ChaCha CEO Scott Jones said in a prepared statement, “but if they do, we will no longer provide our free SMS service to T-Mobile and shift the traffic to other carriers and platforms. It’s unfortunate for T-Mobile subscribers since they will miss out on ChaCha and many free services because of this short-sighted move by T-Mobile.”

T-Mobile reportedly plans to charge a toll of one-quarter of one cent to businesses for each SMS delivered to its customers. The move has sparked outrage from companies such as ChaCha, 4INFO and others, which deliver millions of text messages to users every month. I’ve pinged T-Mobile but the carrier has yet to comment.

While ChaCha appears to be the first player to state publicly that it will drop T-Mobile users from its service, others are likely to follow suit. That could force T-Mobile to abandon the plan, just as Verizon Wireless (s vz) did with a similar effort two years ago.

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

Image courtesy Flickr user Leanulfean.

5 Responses to “ChaCha to Drop T-Mobile in Response to “Twitter Tax””

  1. I don’t think it’s unfair for T-Mobile to charge companies that use their platform and services to make a profit. It’s greedy, to be sure, but they seem confident that demand can withstand their greed. I think they’ll be able to get away with it, if they’re not court-smashed for anti-trust issues in letting certain cronies off the hook. As long as they charge everyone the same fees and don’t discriminate, then it’s up to the “info service” whether they care to pay and the customer to decide if they’re no longer getting enough free texts. In my experience, people are remarkably apathetic. As long as their own bill doesn’t get jacked up, it’s all good.

  2. It seems no providers in the mobile space are immune to the ubiquitous greed factor. I cant wait for the crap to hit the fan when their practices fall foul of the FTC or the consumers rise up en masse. It will be a glorious day.

    • Colin Gibbs

      Hey Don,

      ChaCha sends text answers to users who submit questions via their phones or computers. The company claims to answer more than two million questions a day from more than 15 million unique users, so they’re no tiny startup.