Verizon has decided not to charge a new fee that would have forced the shutdown of a free texting service used by teachers, students, youth sports coaches, and other community groups.
Remind, a company that offers both free and paid communication services for teachers and other users, declared victory today.
At the time, Verizon said the fee was necessary to fund spam-blocking services. But Verizon relented after getting complaints directly from Remind’s users, who said their texts are not spam.
“Your voices have been heard,” Remind CEO Brian Grey wrote today. “I’m thrilled to announce that, thanks entirely to you, we have heard from Verizon that they don’t have plans to change the fee structure applicable to Remind for SMS messaging. This means we will no longer be forced to shut off text notifications for Verizon Wireless customers using Remind. There will be no service disruptions for Verizon Wireless customers.”
Last week, Verizon said it would waive the fee for K-12 users. But Remind complained at the time that Verizon still intended to charge the fee for preschools, day-care centers, youth sports coaches, and other non-K-12 users of the free Remind service.
Grey’s statement today seems to indicate that Verizon ultimately decided not to charge the fee for any texts sent over Remind’s service. A Remind spokesperson, when contacted by Ars today, said that there are “no new fees” being charged by Verizon.
Remind’s now-averted shutoff of texts over the Verizon network would have taken effect on January 28.
Other companies benefit too
Verizon’s decision not to charge the fee will also apply to similar companies.
“We are keeping the service exactly the way it has been for Remind and other companies like it that deliver free communications to these important users,” Verizon said yesterday. “We understand how important this service is to our customers and we’re committed to ensuring that a free messaging option remains available now and going forward.”
Remind sends 1.6 billion text messages a year on the Verizon network, according to Verizon. The new fee would have been $0.0025 per message, according to Twilio, a technology platform that Remind and other companies use to send text messages.
Remind’s costs for sending messages to Verizon customers would have increased from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars per year, Remind said two weeks ago, before Verizon’s decision to change course.
Remind says it has 30 million users, most of whom rely on the free version of the service.
Remind has been facing a similar situation in Canada, where Bell and Rogers also announced new fees. Remind today said that Bell has decided not to charge the fee, allowing Remind to continue service on the Bell network. “Unfortunately, text notifications will still be ending on Monday, January 28 for anyone with Rogers Canada or its subsidiaries,” Remind said.