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article imageTwitter Flies South, Shuts Down Outbound SMS Updates for Canadians

By David Silverberg     Nov 27, 2008 in Technology
Canadian cellphone users can say goodbye to Twitter. Yesterday, the micro-blogging company announced it will no longer allow Canadians to receive outbound text messages. Twitter blames service providers who have doubled costs in the past few months.
Digital Journal -- In Canada, Twitter just got a lot less attractive. For mobile users of the micro-blogging service, it has now become a pointless tool: recently, the company announced on its blog that it has pulled the plug on outbound SMS service, citing high costs from partner service providers.
The announcement means Canadians can't receive "tweets" from the users they currently follow.
On its blog, Twitter pleaded for patience: "Please understand that we did not mean to pull the rug out from under you if you depend on receiving Twitter updates through our Canadian shortcode. We would have preferred to take more time communicating this change but we had to act quickly and responsibly."
The only saving grace -- if it can be called that -- is that Twitter still allows Canadians to update their Twitter account using the shortcode (21212). But for many Twitter fans, using the SMS service to receive updates allowed them to refrain from splurging on a high data plan. Will Canadians pay more on their monthly plan just to receive updates from fans and celebrities (like the recently joined Shaq)?
If a Canadian cellphone user tries to add a phone number to the Setting option in a Twitter account, a message appears reading: Note: We currently don't support sending SMSes to this number. You may still verify your phone and update Twitter, but we'll never send you a message.
The quiet killing of this feature isn't the first time outbound SMS service has been shut down. In August, Twitter said it wouldn't allow outbound text service to every country but India, U.S. and Canada (well, so much for promises). Back then, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote in his blog: "Even with a limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter about $1,000 per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada, India, or the US."
In the past year, Twitter has suggested users try out Web and native applications that work with Twitter and bypass SMS.
With U.S. and India now becoming the lone countries allowing outbound text messaging for Twitter, a worrisome question floats in the air: How long before Americans and Indians face the shafting Canadians just received?
More about Twitter, Sms, Microblogging, Cellphone
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