updated 03:55 pm EDT, Fri August 8, 2008
Canada on Inbound SMS
The ruling Conservative Party government in Canada has "no intention" of banning fees carriers want to charge for incoming SMS messages, the country's Minister of Industry Jim Prentice said today. While Bell Canada and Telus have both drawn criticism for plans that would see each carrier charge 15 cents for each incoming message outside of bundles, potentially forcing subscribers to pay for spam, Prentice argues that forcing these companies to allow incoming text for free would interfere with their businesses.
The announcement follows a meeting with officials from both Bell and Telus, which Prentice claims assured him would filter out spam and refund customers who are charged for unsolicited ads. Critics, including the New Democratic Party, have previously retorted that the move is nonetheless a "cash grab" to profit off of frequent texting and push customers towards pricier bundles.
The Minister also unusually claims that Canadians have the option of leaving for another carrier. "The telecommunications market in Canada is dynamic — choice is available," he claims.
His statement comes despite the existence of only three national cellular providers in Canada, with only Rogers left offering incoming SMS for free. The latter has so far mentioned no plans to charge for incoming text but has alternately been criticized for its relatively high data rates.
Other companies exist in Canada but have often remained regional-only carriers, as firms such as Rogers have often bought out firms with a larger presence. The field isn't set to widen until 2009 or 2010, when winners from the recent government wireless auction will first establish their own cellular networks.