Carrier Surcharges Hamper SMS Growth

Providers Fear Industry Leaders Verizon and AT&T Following Suit

sms carrier surcharges

Sometimes, I think the carriers simply don’t get it.

A growing problem with brands and advertising agencies endorsing text message marketing is a concern among providers like 84444 from carrier surcharges.  Several carriers are now assessing short code providers like 84444 with surcharges on SMS services.

Current surcharges include:

  • Cricket = .0025
  • Metro PCS = .005
  • Sprint = .005
  • T-Mobile = .0025
  • US Cellular = .035

In most cases, these charges are for both MO’s (mobile origination or texts from the consumer to the short code) and MT’s (mobile termination or texts from the short code provider to the consumer).

T-Mobile was the first carrier to begin adding surcharges to its short code messaging back in the Fall of 2010.

Charges like a half a penny per text may not seem like a lot, but given the low price per unit of short code marketing, it is significant.

To date, 84444 has simply absorbed the cost of the carrier surcharges, but ats Mobile president Bob Bentz has stated that it would be increasingly difficult to continue to absorb the surcharges should industry leaders Verizon and AT&T begin assessing surcharges also.

In addition to these per SMS surcharges, Metro PCS and Cricket are also charging an additional $500 each when a new short code is activated.

The SMS industry is still recovering from the discontinuance of premium SMS billing by the carriers in November, 2013.

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