Twitter SMS ends for Arabia and rest of the world, excluding USA, India and Canada
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.
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 http://wawet.com/arabcrunch (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’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.