The battle to keep the Internet free and open now has a new challenge to add to its already long list. Mobile carrier T-Mobile is reportedly planning to charge an additional fee to businesses that send texts over its network.
Also, earlier this month, T-Mobile had a lawsuit filed against it by EZ Texting, which is a company that helps businesses send mass marketing messages to consumers. EZ Texting accuses T-Mobile of blocking access to its network because it conducts business with a website that provides information about medical marijuana.
Regarding this case, Gigi Sohn, the president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, said, “This case is yet another example of a totally arbitrary decision by a carrier to block text message calls between consumers and organizations they want to communicate with. The FCC should put a fast end to this blocking by issuing the ruling we asked them for three years ago.”
As a result of these recent developments, some groups are beginning to ask that net neutrality be extended to mobile platforms. If not, they fear that innovation would plummet in the mobile industry.
ChaCha, the question and answer service based on sending text messages, has spoken out toward this cause. Scott Jones, the company’s CEO and co-founder, has even said that if T-Mobile carries out its plan to enforce the tax, it would have to drop T-Mobile customers from its SMS services.
On the other hand, T-Mobile justifies its actions by saying it is trying to prevent against unsolicited commercial texts. The mobile carrier also believes its action would be a net positive for its partners.
A hearing for EZ Texting is set for tomorrow, September 30. Also, if T-Mobile follows through and does impose its new fee, companies will feel the effects of it on October 1.
As this net neutrality fight continues, what do you think of these recent activities and their implications?