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Thursday, 14 August 2008 16:32

No more text Twittering in the UK

Twitter is all about instant mobile communication between its social network of Twitterers, but not if you are British it would seem...

Twitter, the microblogging service that worked so well when Gmail didn't the other day, has decided to drop support for text message twittering in the UK.

I got an email last night from Twitter founder, Biz Stone, explaining why.

Here's what he had to say:

"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."

Right, although you will still be able to send updates over that number apparently. One way communication is always a good thing. Not!

The good news, according to Stone, is "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."

I am not sure how that helps those UK Twitterers who want to receive rather than send by SMS, but never mind.

Stone explains why the changes were necessary:

"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."

And, of course, building a big business brand in the process.

What else has Biz Stone got to say about pulling the SMS service from UK Twitterers? Find out on page 2...


"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."

OK, although I feel there is a 'but' coming soon.

"We achieved this goal in Canada, India, and the United States."

But not, it seems, in the UK.

"We can provide full incoming and outgoing SMS service without passing along operator fees in these countries."

But not, it seems, in the UK.

"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."

Also known as flipping the bird to UK users who are now stuck with only a partial Twitter service. Until, that is, they all decide to stop being treated as twits and find an alternative...


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