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Twitter cans SMS service

Twitter cans SMS service

The ability to receive Twitter updates via SMS is now only available to the US, Canada, and India due to high cost.

If you use Twitter from a mobile 'phone here in the UK, you may have wondered why it's all gone a bit quiet – apparently, the bills were getting too high.

According to the Twitter blog, the company has retired the ability to send out Twitter updates – short messages detailing what a given user is doing at the time – via SMS to UK residents. While the text message updates were perfectly feasible in the US – where the recipient bears the cost – the system proved to be too expensive in the UK, where the sender pays for the message to go out.

The guys at Twitter knew that the day would come when sending out thousands of SMS messages without charging users anything would prove to be unsustainable in the long run, describing the process as having “set the clock ticking” when they launched the SMS updates in the UK. The company had hoped to “establish relationships with mobile operators around the world such that our SMS services could become sustainable from a cost perspective”, but sadly those relationships proved elusive outside the US, Canada, and India.

While the SMS updates sent by Twitter are now disabled – typically, the same day that I actually got around to configuring my Twitter account to send the blessed things – the reverse is not true, with UK users still able to send SMS updates to +447624801423 and update their status on-the-go. However, in light of the reduced functionality – and the fact that as the number belongs to Manx Telecom and is often charged as 'International', meaning messages sent to it are billed at a higher rate and not included in free text bundles – the company is suggesting alternatives: Cellity for Java-enabled handsets, TwitterBerry for BlackBerry users, and Twitterific if you've got an iPhone. Users without any of the above will have to point their WAP browser to http://m.twitter.com/, and failing that it'll be a hunt for Internet Cafés on-route.

Twitter hasn't given up on international SMS support yet, however: the company says it will “continue to negotiate with mobile operators in Europe, Asia, China, Australia, The Americas, and other regions to forge relationships that will benefit all our users” and describes the final goal to be the provision of “full, two-way service with Twitter via SMS to every national in a way that is sustainable from a cost perspective.

Any Twitter users here saddened at the fact that they'll no longer seem the most popular kid on the block with constant SMS notifications, or is text messaging old hat anyway? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

19 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
legoman666 15th August 2008, 14:18 Quote
I still can't believe that anyone cares about every minute thing that I'm doing. Hell, I don't even care about every minute thing that I'm doing...
Timmy_the_tortoise 15th August 2008, 14:19 Quote
What on earth is Twitter?
Bauul 15th August 2008, 14:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
What on earth is Twitter?

As pointless as most people reckon Twitter is....

You're not serious right?
Veles 15th August 2008, 15:03 Quote
I also have no idea what Twitter is
Timmy_the_tortoise 15th August 2008, 15:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
As pointless as most people reckon Twitter is....

You're not serious right?

I am deadly serious.
Tyrmot 15th August 2008, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
I also have no idea what Twitter is

+1
Hex 15th August 2008, 15:43 Quote
I recently switched over to Plurk instead, the Twitter Fail Whale was driving me nuts. I much prefer the way you can have threaded conversations with Plurk and I don't need to see replies to messages I don't care about.

I should add I've never bothered with the Twitter SMS service. It's easier for me to load the mobile page, I couldn't get TwitterBerry to work properly.
kenco_uk 15th August 2008, 15:51 Quote
Twitter seems to be a collection of remarks posted to your own twitter mini-website from a mobile/laptop/internet connection so that other people can read them. They mostly tie into answers or remarks to/from other peoples' twitters, but sometimes it's very random indeed.
Xir 15th August 2008, 16:14 Quote
...I wikipediad twitter, read the explanation and still don't understand what ist's supposed to be...
DXR_13KE 15th August 2008, 16:18 Quote
it also surprises me that Americans pay for the sms they receive.... that is weird and strange.
Hex 15th August 2008, 16:25 Quote
The Twitter website explains it best. It's basically a micro-blogging service. You know those status updates on FaceBook and MySpace? Well it's pretty much that, but it's been going a lot longer and is surprisingly popular. I know a lot of people poo-hoo it as they don't care what anyone else is doing, but when you have a group of friends who all use one of these services it can be very useful and provide you with amusement during the boring working day :)
Gareth Halfacree 15th August 2008, 18:34 Quote
My new day job uses it, as a matter of fact - a way of giving outsiders an insight into the company culture, or some such marketing shpiel.
mikeuk2004 15th August 2008, 18:35 Quote
Never heard of it untill now and dont really get it :(
Anakha 15th August 2008, 19:03 Quote
Here in Canada, on Rogers, I don't have to pay for incoming SMSs. I do have to pay $0.15 a pop to send, however.

Oh, and Twitter doesn't work sending to Rogers SMS, the text messages never reach my phone. Though sending a text to 21212 posts on Twitter just fine.

And, stupidly, using the mobile twitter WAP interface from Rogers won't allow you to send tweets. I get "Web: No connection" when trying to post from my S60 Nokia (Though I can browse the twitter site just fine).
-EVRE- 16th August 2008, 08:40 Quote
back when analog service was the only service around .. that was back in 1997.... we still had a better calling plan for cost per minute.. the mobile phone companies are raping us over the coals for service.

SMS should be nearly free, the current networks are more than capable of handling the traffic across them in my area.

at present with Verizon it costs $.20 to send or receive a text message, also it costs $1.99 per mb of traffic.. O.O well.. I wonder how many txt messages can be sent inside of 1mb. Also for $60 a month you can have mobile web that actually has decent speeds, of about 50k a second and has a cap of 5gb of transfer a month.

Do the math 5gb for $60 or 1kb for $.20 its Bull $417 and the phone companies know it.
Cadillac Ferd 17th August 2008, 01:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
it also surprises me that Americans pay for the sms they receive.... that is weird and strange.
Everything relating to mobile phones in the US is designed to make you hate your life, paying for unsolicited messages from companies and people you don't know or ever want to hear from is only the tip of the iceberg.
Xir 18th August 2008, 14:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex
...and provide you with amusement during the boring working day :)

So like MIRC untill that went out of fashion ;-)
Cant have been any good, after all, 't was free!

Errr, if I remember correctly, SMS usage developed very different in the US and Europe.
US had (rather) cheap cellphone charges, so people called and didn't bother to use SMS. (which is why motorola phones were pisspoor at SMS for a long time)
Europe had very high cellphone charges and SMS was for free, so people started breaking their fingers...and it became a habit.
(now 1 min Talking is about the cost of one SMS, so it's not really economical anymore)

I franakly prefer SMS for many reasons, mostly beeing able to think before you're required to answer. :D

If I'd have to pay for people SMSing me, I'd have it disabled though.
Hex 18th August 2008, 14:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
So like MIRC untill that went out of fashion ;-)
You mean IRC, not mIRC ;) and some of us are still on IRC every day ;)
Xir 19th August 2008, 13:59 Quote
You're right of course. mIRC is just a Programm to use IRC...and play IRC-battle-tetris :-D
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