Monday, June 7, 2010

Why Does Sending SMS Still Cost Money?

I always focus on the positive and I carefully spend my time and strength on constructive business development. Challenging "Paying for SMS" may be considered a negative issue, but it's not. It simply should be a hot topic for telecom and a wonderful opportunity. It's time to move to "the next level" and let go of an outdated paradigm: SMS should be free of charge!

I know, I know, there are plenty of smart solutions that allow us to send SMS for free - today. But that's besides the point. My point is simple; there is in principle no difference between an SMS and an email. Thus "pricing" should be the same for both. Either we start paying for emails or the telecom business (i.e. in general) should quit charging its customers for sending SMS.

Free SMS should not be a unique selling point, but rather be a self evident offering!

I know, I know, it'll come sometime in the future. But again, that's besides the point. My point is simple; if there in principle is no difference between an SMS and an email, then it's time to start treating them the same - NOW. SMS has become and has been for a long time a cash cow product.

I know, I know, this blog post will neither matter much nor make a big difference. Again, that's besides the point. My point remains simple; there is no difference between an SMS and an email. With this I wanted to clearly state that the market place knows that telecom is in fact abusing its position. The market has grown accustomed to paying for SMS, but is now moving out of this paradigm. Whoever makes the switch to pricing SMS and email on equal grounds I will congratulate. However, I will not do so until that player also has taken the lead by influencing all other players in doing the same.


  1. I have an abo with 100 free SMS each month, and hardly ever find the quota used. But it is a very interesting thought, though :-)

  2. "SMS should be free of charge!"
    Still of no use, I hardly send 2 sms a month, but around 100 emails a month :)

  3. Yes, I guess the amount of SMS people are sending varies a lot. And that's just it, isn't it? Some of us are paying a substantial amount of money without even giving it a second thought. Maybe the first step is to raise the awareness..?

  4. Really, is it free? I guess there is just two different ways to bill these options. At least for me, I'm paying more per month for having the possibility to send e-mails from home and from my phone, then I pay per month for having a celluar subscription. And, yes, I'm thinking of the cost I have with my different Internet connections. A decade ago it was not unusual to pay per kilobyte when surfing, and in some countries, they still do. In the same way, you now also have the option to buy yourself an "SMS unlimites"-subscription for your cell phone. - There's no such thing as free beer...

  5. Great point! The same for MMS! Telecom always try to make a unique selling point or even preserve a old paradigm such as trying to stop spread of e.g. Skype om mobile phones. Today many mobile phones support Skype, so it is not an issue any more. Why is it so hard with SMSes? Because SMS/MMS is easily available AND used by the grown ups who doesn`t know any other means of communication. So, in time, I think it will be a paradigm shift.

    Thanks for your thought Vidar!


  6. Dead on, JR!

    OK. So here's what I've been trying to communicate, Sten - and I so much appreciate your eXcellent response:

    Why are we paying for all these services with different cashflow models and even different vendors? I believe the time has come for the market place to pick up on the basics; expect your one and only vendor to supply you with everything through that one and only monthly bill (...and if not possible, then combine existing offers to get stuff for free by combining whatever they have.)

    However, I know that just like people can't be bothered to switch from a lousy bank to a better one, so it is with many other kinds of services such as e.g. telecom. Because we're lazy and unconscious customers going along with whatever is the norm "out there" we end up paying much more than what we ought to.