Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life

Twitter beaching the whale

Very bad news from Twitter,. Twitters USP here in the UK was the ability to send & receive tweets by SMS (Text messaging) as of today, with no warning whatsoever, they have cut of receiving updates here in the UK by text.

Their so called UK number, actually its a number based in the Isle of Man, was outside most UK users calling plans (O2 it was included in the free texts) so most folks would not update their twitters at 20p or so at a time. However, incoming texts in the UK are free so Twitter was a neat way of sending texts to mobile phones from a PC. and also a way of amplifying texts 1 text to many. Alas no more.

The reasons given are cost they argue “Even with a limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter about $1,000 per user, per year” Which doesn’t add up to me as Bulk SMS’s seem to cost between 2p and 1.3p according to

Its interesting that they did not even offer an option to pay for receiving texts or even severely limit the number of texts per user? We are not all Scobles with thousands of followers.

Their alternative idea of using the internet on your phone is not so hot either, although Twinkle and twitterific work OK on the iPhone they cannot run in the background or alert you in the same way that texting does.

I think they have now left the market wide open for Google to come in with Jaiku, although the omens don’t look good on that front.

I guess the good news is that the twitter service may now be more reliable as users flood away leaving the fail whale beached rather than suspended.


First people trying to bridge the gap with tweetsms

Meanwhile over on AVC, Fred Wilson an investor in Twitter, wrote in reply to my comment:-

Pity that Twitter has just hammered us in the UK. Just as i was getting my social circle to start using it via text on their phones 🙁
Also very poor customer service just chopping of SMS with no warning at all. Perhaps they hadn’t paid their texting phone bill!

It will be back. The costs of supplying effectively free texting in the UK just got too high. People were abusing it with DMs


Reader Comments

  1. yes this has made me a very un-happy girl… how iam i to keep up with the outside world now……. 🙁 I just have to hope people remember to text 🙂

  2. yes this has made me a very un-happy girl… how iam i to keep up with the outside world now……. 🙁 I just have to hope people remember to text 🙂

  3. No SMS supplier in the UK charges less than 2.6p per text (unless they are using low quality offshore routes where you can’t send to numbers that have been ported between networks, and have unreliable delivery receipts).

    Also, be wary of BulkSMS’s pricing structure. For high quaility UK routes you have to multiple any costs by 1.5p.

    Anyone who needs an online SMS supplier in the UK should consider (, very reliable and low cost service with online, email and API interfaces. All free – you just pay from 3p for the texts.


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