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New text messaging charges criticized by consumer groups

(8/07/2008)—The decision of Bell and Telus to charge $.15 per incoming text message starting this August was criticized today by the telecommunications consumer watchdog, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

“Obviously the concern is the incurring of charges for unwanted messages or spam”, said Michael Janigan, PIAC general counsel. “It makes the party who is the least responsible and with the least amount of control, pay the costs for this nuisance.”

Janigan noted it is unclear whether this charge would apply to existing customers. “Clearly, customers should be able to switch if they don’t agree with paying this fee.”

While it is possible to get lower rates with data packages, Janigan said that industry analysts have found that the costs of these packages are high in relation to what is available in many other countries. “In addition to more price competition, we need standards for wireless contracts that make them less one-sided in favour of providers.”

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