Bell and Telus to Charge for Text Messages

By Devin Kent on 10 Jul 2008 12:28 am EDT

Grrrrr.....Despite the hoopla over the pricey plans at Rogers, and increasing pressure from the public in Canada, Bell and Telus both plan to start charging $0.15 for each incoming text message. Bell will start the new pricing on August 8th, with Telus to follow on the 24th. Though both companies already charge for outgoing text messages, this new attempt to squeeze money out of people for something completely out of their control is likely to cause a great deal of resentment to a customer base that is already upset at high prices for phone services.

Update: It seems Rogers is finally going to listen to customers and offer up some decent (still not great) data rates. Is this a roll reversal in the making... Rogers becomes the less evil good guy and Telus and Bell become the bad guys?! If you're a texter, be sure to subscribe to a plan!

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Bell and Telus to Charge for Text Messages


it's true...both telus and bell ARE going to charge for incoming. Good news for bell customers though, if you subscribe to a text messaging package then you have nothing to worry about.

This only affects those who don't subscribe to some sort of text messaging plan. For those who do, everything will be the same and they won't see any increase on their bills.

Let me start off by saying that I DO NOT in ANYWAY agree with charging for incoming sms. I'm a customer service rep at TELUS and I've been listening to people for the last two days yell at me about contracts this and unfair that. What it boils down to is this: People who DO sms and mms, do it alot and the majority have an sms package (because lets face it..most of us would spend near 150-500 a month). ANY feature that includes sms (at TELUS anyway) whether it be spark bundles or the sms add-ons or the "bundle" bundles INCLUDE UNLIMITED INCMOING SMS... even the 30 sms for 3$. The people causing a stir are people that DONT use SMS. They're afraid of the .60$ that might be charged to them in the next year. You've never received one sms in your life, why would you start getting them now? At any rate, if you don't plan on using it, REMOVE THE SERVICE! Problem solved. For you occasionals.. just add the 3$ for 30 sms... and now ill get back to my 42 inch sharp that wont turn on

Thanks for the info. I thought this was the case, but the media makes it into a big deal without the facts. The local Vancouver news even interviewed passer by's downtown without giving people all the facts. Stupid media.

ONce again, I'm going to say that I REALLY DO NOT SUPPORT this charging structure, however I have to say that that argument (which i hear all day long) is innacurate. Have you read your contract?.. The contract is all legal mumbo-jumbo which makes no reference to your RP or charges for service, but rather what the company is not liable for and what you as a client are allowed/not allowed to do. It also reserves the right to ammend the contract while you're in it. (i.e. Data cancellation charge for promo priced PDA's)

Its only for people without ANY txt msging plan. If you have even a basic plan then you will not be charged for incoming txt msgs

Yes that's definitely bad.

But, I would call Rogers the good guys just yet.

They still don't offer an unlimited texting plan, while Telus and Bell does....what's with this 2500 messages crap....why don't you just give unlimited.

If it's going to supposedly affect such a small number of customers, then why bother with the change? Well, obviously there's money to be made!

I'm someone who doesn't have a txt plan ... I just don't send that many txt messages, maybe a couple a month. I've got my BB email and GTalk to keep me in contact with people. But most of my friends do not have BB, so I sometimes get txt messages from them. Usually just a quick msg to get in contact, or an update if they're running late. Family members may msg to say what's up, in which case I'll email or call them back later.

So while it may not end up being a big cost (probably around $1 a month), why should I be paying for something that I can't control? I can screen my phone calls and not use airtime if I don't want ... but that's not the case with SMS. Unless I can somehow get Bell to disable incoming txt.

Errr... I thought I WAS being charged for incoming texts... I guess in that case this won't really affect me in any big way that I will actually notice.

I get about 5 texts a month, often less. It's only worth it to get a plan if you will text more than the cost of the plan, right?

That's long been the case for us here south of the border. At least I know for sure it is for Sprint. If you don't have a text messaging plan and you send or receive a text message, you get hit with a US$.20 charge... despite the fact that you can't control who sends your text messages.

Sucks, but it's reality.

Phew, scared me there for a bit. I do have an unlimited IM-ing and text-ing, so no worries here. For the rest of the ppl. that don't, I feel you. :(


I think if they are going to charge for recieving text messages they should offer a way of blocking them as well otherwise a person would have no control as to what they will accept or not.

just call customer service.. they can delete the service from your profile! Voila, problem solved ( i mentioned that in my earlier post)

Just like someone else mentioned (who was on Sprint) paying for incoming and outgoing text has been a staple for most cell companies here in the states for some time. I don't have any kind of text plan so what I do is monitor my text and once I get close to $5 in charges (on T-Mo $5 is the cheapest text plan) then I'll call T-Mo and add it for the month as to not get charged for over $5 worth of text. Then I can easily remove it for the next month and start my monitoring all over again. It's pretty simple, most ppl prolly monitor their minutes online, just take the extra 20 seconds to check your text. Also, check w/ your provider cause they might be able to block incoming to your phone. I used to be w/ ATT and they could do it but TMO says they can't.

So what happens if I get 1000 SMS incoming spam messages over night? I don't want to be paying hundreds of dollars over something that is not under my control. I sometimes get SMS messages from my phone company, so what's stopping them from spamming me, or anyone else? I can easily see the phone companies sending massive amounts of spam (originating from an anonymous source) in order to collect record amounts of profits from incoming messages. From my point of view, I don't really understand why SMS is charged for in the first place. The phone companies should be encouraging people to text message instead of use voice calling, as text messaging takes up virtually no bandwidth (as compared to voice). It's kind of silly that I get evenings and weekends free for voice calls, but still have to pay for SMS during those times.

I don't think its a big deal and infact anyone who was just trying to milk pay per use text and not pay and then whines well too bad. Every customer has the option to opt out of text messaging.
I think the bigger travesty is Bell getting rid of their unlimited package and replacing it with $10-2500 and $20-5000.

good for NDP.. it isnt going to accomplish anything.. 1. They have no pull 2. what the companies are doing is legal... dirty, but legal

If this were to happen in Hong Kong there would be a riot. We aren't offered text plans, but incoming has always been free. Not necessarily a good thing, as this give free reign for text-marketers to send you junk. When we complain, they can't give a hoot since we're not being charged any money.

If this were to happen in Hong Kong there would be a riot. We aren't offered text plans, but incoming has always been free. Not necessarily a good thing, as this give free reign for text-marketers to send you junk. When we complain, they can't give a hoot since we're not being charged any money.

Recent development in all of this...the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunication Commission) has called on the presidents of both Bell and Telus to have them appear before the commission and justify this change, if they cannot, then the CRTC will overrule them and forbid them from doing it (which they have the legal authority to do), if they CAN justify it, then it will likely go through, so now we wait and see.