Twitter SMS Updates….

Got this email this morning from Twitter…..

Short version outside the US and the UK direct SMS updates will no longer come to my phone. I can still send updates but not receive them away from my computer.

Two things could happen.
1- Twitter is about to suffer a major blow outside countries that have SMS updates now.
2 – If they are fast and australian telco’s aren’t greedy things will be back up to normal very soon.

I am afraid that here in Australia with the way that data charges are that a sms gateway for Twitter may not eventuate for quite some time.

This is a major concern for me. Sure I can still send sms updates, but the receiving of them is vitally important to me to keep the service viable as people have come to use it. If people want me that are not in my circle of physical friends in the last few months I have “DM Twitter” friends for news, information and social gatherings. All sitting in a state of flux.

One of the biggest advantages of twitter was that it broke the IP Model. I can be outside of an IP controlled space (and ironically the IP costs) sitting on an old Nokia 8250 and still follow the world and have to world follow me (not that many did :-()

I only hope that this gets addressed quickly as the Twitter Space was nearly at threshold to break out into true mainstream globally.

I’ll write more later on this subject!

….. The Letter ……

I’m sending you this note because you registered a mobile device
to work with Twitter over our UK number. I wanted to let you
know that we are making some changes to the way SMS works on
Twitter. There is some good news and some bad news.

I’ll start with the bad news. Beginning today, Twitter is no
longer delivering outbound SMS over our UK number. If you enjoy
receiving updates from Twitter via +44 762 480 1423, we are
recommending that you explore some suggested alternatives.

Note: You will still be able to UPDATE over our UK number.

Before I go into more detail, here’s a bit of good news: Twitter
will be introducing several new, local SMS numbers in countries
throughout Europe in the coming weeks and months. These new
numbers will make Twittering more accessible for you if you’ve
been using SMS to send long-distance updates from outside the UK.

Why are we making these changes?

Mobile operators in most of the world charge users to send
updates. When you send one message to Twitter and we send it to
ten followers, you aren’t charged ten times–that’s because we’ve
been footing the bill. When we launched our free SMS service to
the world, we set the clock ticking. As the service grew in
popularity, so too would the price.

Our challenge during this window of time was to establish
relationships with mobile operators around the world such that
our SMS services could become sustainable from a cost perspective.
We achieved this goal in Canada, India, and the United States.
We can provide full incoming and outgoing SMS service without
passing along operator fees in these countries.

We took a risk hoping to bring more nations onboard and more
mobile operators around to our way of thinking but we’ve arrived
at a point where the responsible thing to do is slow our costs
and take a different approach. Since you probably don’t live in
Canada, India, or the US, we recommend receiving your Twitter
updates via one of the following methods. works on browser-enabled phones works on browser-enabled phones works on email-enabled phones
Cellity [] works on java-enabled phones
TwitterBerry [] works on BlackBerry phones
Twitterific [] works on iPhones

Twitter SMS by The Numbers

It pains us to take this measure. However, we need to avoid
placing undue burden on our company and our service. Even with a
limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter
about $1,000 per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada,
India, or the US. It makes more sense for us to establish fair
billing arrangements with mobile operators than it does to pass
these high fees on to our users.

Twitter will continue to negotiate with mobile operators in
Europe, Asia, China, and The Americas to forge relationships

that benefit all our users. Our goal is to provide full, two-way
service with Twitter via SMS to every nation in a way that is
sustainable from a cost perspective. Talks with mobile companies
around the world continue. In the meantime, more local numbers
for updating via SMS are on the way. We’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for your attention,
Biz Stone, Co-founder
Twitter, Inc.

3 Responses to “Twitter SMS Updates….”

  1. Bugger! This means that I’m going to have to find some other way of keeping up to date on when my favourite (Twitter-ers? Twitterites? Twits?) have an intersting thought, see something shiny, or take a shit, when they’re away from the succulent nipple of a Internet-enabled device!

    Say it isn’t so!

  2. Breaking News – We’ve brought back Twitter’s SMS to fans in Australia!
    Check out our brand new site to see how it works and get connected again!

  3. @Dee Timms….

    Well congrats for being first of the block with a way of making $$$ out of twitter sms…

    Whilst not up my alley for the cost ;-)… you still get points in my book for opening up a business model…

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