Twitter SMS ends for Arabia and rest of the world, excluding USA, India and Canada

14 Aug, 2008

Twitter NO SMS

International Twitter users received a message from Twitter stating that Twitter is no longer delivering outbound SMS over its UK number, which is the number that was used for UK users and to users in the rest of the world to receive and updates “tweets.”

By this move most of the world including the Arab world won’t get Free SMS updates from their Twitter friends.

Why Twitter is doing this? Hefty Cost:

Mobile operators in most of the world charge users to send updates. When you send one message to Twitter and Twitter send it to ten followers, you aren’t charged ten times–that’s because Twitter paid the whole bill.
Twitter explains:

When we launched our free SMS service to the world, we set the clock ticking. As the service grew in popularity, so too would the price. Our challenge during this window of time was to establish relationships with mobile operators around the world such that our SMS services could become sustainable from a cost perspective.

Twitter give an estimate of how much a user cost it per year.

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

According to Twitter, their incoming and outgoing SMS service could become sustainable from a cost perspective. in Canada, India, and the United States, because they managed to have deals with mobile operators in these countries.
Twitter said they will continue

To negotiate with mobile operators in Europe, Asia, China, and The Americas to forge relationships that benefit all our users. Our goal is to provide full, two-way service with Twitter via SMS to every nation in a way that is sustainable from a cost perspective. Talks with mobile companies around the world continue

Twitter promised also that they will be introducing several new, local SMS numbers in countries throughout Europe in the coming weeks and months:

These new numbers will make Twittering more accessible for you if you’ve been using SMS to send long-distance updates from outside the UK.

This sad news for many in Europe and few in the Arab world, since only few of the Arab world residents use Twitter, I think less than 5 thousand. It is also sad for me because I was in my way to activate Twitter SMS service 🙁

Though this might be a good news for Twitter’s regional competitor WatWet (reviewed here), since they will be the only one offering 2 way SMS at least in Jordan, but only with one operator: Zain (Which sucks.) It might be a problem for WatWet because they will have an active competitor trying to do what they are doing: Forging deals with Mobile operator in the region to bypass SMS costs to them.

Never the less WaWet has an advantage over Twitter at least in the Saudi market since they have Arabic interface, which may not be available in Twitter for years to come.

Everyone I know who has a Zain number in Jordan knows about WatWet but only few use it. I do not have Zain number so it is a the Zero-sum game for me, since now I cannot use any of both companies SMS services.

I am a somehow loyal Twitter user (If you are not following ArabCrunch on Twitter do here ), but I would not use SMS services if it will cost money to receive updates as TechCrunch.UK suggested.

I’ll post the opnion of other Twitter users once they answer my tweets.

So please Twitter get a free SMS deal here and please find a business model. WaWet, please do not make exclusive deals with one operator in each country.

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  1. Breaking: TweetSMS to enable SMS for Twitter in UK and worldwide soon | ArabCrunch  |  August 15th, 2008 at 1:59 AM #

    […] wrote few hours a post about Twitter ending its UK SMS receiving service. On Twitter every one not in USA, Canada, and India is complaining Few minutes […]

  2. Ahmad  |  August 15th, 2008 at 12:57 PM #

    You make me laugh, do u think there is any kind of competition between Twitter and that one WatWet, man really this is silly

  3. Gaith Saqer  |  August 16th, 2008 at 1:16 AM #

    Ahmad, I welcome your comment but next time please be polite.
    there is in some way, Wawet is for the Arab world. remember Twitter is not yet Famous in the Arab world. WaWet also have arabic interface plus you can send not just SMS updates but MMS too.
    right now watwet SMS works in Jordan only with one telco which is Zain Jordan

    What is lame about Watwet is the following:

    1- SMS updates are only with one operator, which makes the rest of us who do not have Zain in a disprivileged situation. they should work with all mobile operators, but i doubt it, i think part of the deal with Zain is to not do partnership with other operators in Jordan, which is a big mistake and makes the service less valuable.

    2- there is not desktop application, which sucks, i do not wana keep refreshing my browser to get updates from my friends, and i do not wana spam my email with updates, they even develop one based on AIR or open their API to let others develop it.

  4. Ahmad  |  August 16th, 2008 at 2:44 PM #

    I think that I do not say any kind of bad words, but I did really find it silly when you said “Though this might be a good news for Twitter’s regional competitor WatWet ”

    I don`t like it when we the Arabs makes small things larger, keep it always as how it is. Show me one Arab startup that has been noticed by any startup funding firm or has been acquired.

    I was reading once about and that Maktoob has a partenrship with and afterward became in the deadpool like many arab startups. I am crying for that, when I look at those Israeli startups coming from Tel-Aviv and Technion University that has been noticed and doing great like US and German startups.

    Finally, Since years I am asking one question of my self that I am not finding an answer to: what is the business model of Arab startups, what is Maktoob business model, hehe really silly.

    We have to setup plans, becuase its about identifying goals and planning.

  5. Gaith Saqer  |  August 16th, 2008 at 6:24 PM #

    Ahamd i answered your Watwet question.
    i ll add that Twitter has no business model yet.
    Why do not you tell is why it is silly? instead of saying it is just simlly.?

    Makttob was funded with millions of $, now they have around 8 million visitors a month ( audited stats) and they are profitable.
    Maktoob business model:

    is like Yahoo and google: Ad supported and they make tons of money.

    There are many obstacles that are not helping startups grow in the Arab world, some from the developers themselves some from our governments and so on.
    I started ArabCrunch to help in the effort to change that. and i will have many posts that touches into what you are saying, stay tuned 🙂

  6. Global Voices Online » Jordan: No Free SMS Tweets for Arabia  |  August 17th, 2008 at 8:14 PM #

    […] including the Arab world won’t get Free SMS updates from their Twitter friends,” reports Arab Crunch, Posted by Amira Al Hussaini  Print Version Share […]

  7. Shabayek  |  August 21st, 2008 at 10:06 AM #

    Now can someone speak to Etisalat (UAE ISP) and ask them to lift their ban on the Twitter website, they blocked it long back, fearing it would damage their profits because of its free SMS module.

  8. TweetSMS Launched Today Enabling Twitter SMS in 190 Countries Including Many Arab States | ArabCrunch  |  August 27th, 2008 at 8:58 PM #

    […] As reported by ArabCrunch last week , TweetSMS enables Twitter’s users who no longer can get SMS notifications from Twitter in countries outside USA, Canada, and India […]

  9. Watwet Redesigns, Now Supports Mobliy the Second KSA’s Mobile Operator. | ArabCrunch  |  September 16th, 2008 at 3:11 PM #

    […] 2 way MMS service and its Arabic interface. Also as I said before Watwet might have benefited from Twitter ending out-bound SMS services to Arabia and most of the world. But anyways Twitter with around 2 million users has not gone main stream in USA yet, let alone in […]

  10. Mashable Mentions ArabCrunch in a Post | ArabCrunch  |  October 11th, 2008 at 8:20 PM #

    […] of days ago I wrote a breaking news story about the upcoming TweetSMS an SMS solution to the end of Twitter UK outbound SMS , and I sent @tweets to few people one of them was […]

  11. No more Twitter SMS! BrightKite has Free International In-Bound SMS and, It Also Redesigned and Added New Features -30 Invites- | ArabCrunch  |  October 11th, 2008 at 11:31 PM #

    […] you are outside USA, Canada and UK, you no longer can get your twitter friends update via SMS,  yhough a number of starups came along to offer you twitter SMS but with hefty charge per SMS  . […]

  12. Twe2 Brings Back Free SMS to Arabia and Most of the World. | ArabCrunch  |  February 21st, 2009 at 1:31 AM #

    […] talked before about solutions that let you get out bound Twitter SMS  back after Twitter ended its SMS service in most of world, but most of the solutions offered  are paid.  Though there are other MicroBlogging platforms […]

  13. Breaking: Twitter in Talks With Zain the Largest Mobile Operator in the Arab world, for RegionalSMS Deals.  |  August 15th, 2009 at 6:58 PM #

    […] ended last year  its free out bound SMS in bound notifications  to users worldwide excluding 3 countries because it costs them around 1000 […]

  14. (Updated) Breaking: Twitter in Talks With Zain, the Largest Mobile Operator in the Arab World, for Regional SMS Deals. - interactiveME  |  August 22nd, 2009 at 3:51 PM #

    […] ended last year  its free out bound SMS in bound notifications  to users worldwide excluding 3 countries because it costs them around 1000 […]

  15. alsarem  |  September 25th, 2009 at 2:41 AM #


  16.  |  January 15th, 2010 at 5:44 PM #

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