The about-face from Bell Mobility comes after it had announced in a February 24 press release that the new SMS Twitter service would cost customers 15 cents for every tweet sent or received from their devices, regardless of their monthly texting plan.
In an e-mail statement to media, Julie Smithers, associate director, media relations, Bell Canada, wrote: “Because Twitter is a third-party service, the messages are considered premium and not covered by our plans.”
That created anger and confusion among many Twitter users, since Twitter had already announced the deal on its blog the week before and wrote that there would be “no limits and no added fees (beyond your normal texting plan).”
“Bell is really in crap land with this offering. Makes no sense to me. Is Twitter in on the rev share?” wrote one of many unhappy Twitter users. Twitter responded with a tweet of its own on February 25 that read: “There's some confusion about Bell Mobility pricing of Twitter SMS. We've been investigating this and will clear it up tomorrow. Thx!” The following day, Twitter said that Bell customers with a bundled text messaging plan would indeed receive unlimited incoming Twitter SMS messages at no extra charge.
Julie Smithers told PRWeek that Bell Mobility has since come to a deal with Twitter that will allow its text subscribers to use the service without charge. She declined to go into details about the communications gaffe, but said, “We want to ensure the maximum number of users of the service, and it is clear that including Twitter's SMS supports that goal.”