Twitter Kills SMS in Canada

[qi:025] Citing changes to its billing and costs that are doubling every month, Twitter announced that it will no longer support outbound SMS to Canadians. Twitter’s searching for a business model (and a Business Product Manager to help out), and in the meantime it has to curtail costs — but it doesn’t help that Canadian carriers are trying to charge huge fees for text messaging, resulting in consumer lawsuits. Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice called the decision by Bell and Telus a “poorly thought out decision,” back in July, but reneged in August following meetings with the carriers, saying, “I would encourage consumers dissatisfied with existing plans to seek alternatives. The telecommunications market in Canada is dynamic — choice is available.”

Given today’s news, it would seem that alternatives aren’t available, at least for Twitter, and probably not for Canadians in general.

The statement from Twitter is below.

Unexpected changes in our billing have forced us into a difficult situation with our Canadian SMS service. We can’t afford to support this service given our current arrangement with our providers (where costs have been doubling for the past several months.) As a result, effective today we are no longer delivering outbound SMS over our Canadian shortcode (21212). The ability to update Twitter over SMS will still be supported over 21212. But we know that this is only part of the experience and we want to make Twitter work in the way folks want … regardless of where they live. There is a realistic, scalable SMS solution for Canada (and the rest of the world.) We’re working on that and will post more details on the Twitter blog as we make progress.