Here’s some fresh fodder for those concerned that the carriers exert too much control over SMS. Verizon has informed content partners that it will levy a $.03 charge for certain messages sent to customers. The fee applies to things like SMS-based search and text alerts. RCR Wireless, which obtained a copy of the email sent to partners, gives some suggestions for who is likely to be hit:
Countless companies could be affected by the new fee, from players in the booming SMS-search space (4INFO, Google Inc. and ChaCha) to media companies (CNN, ESPN and local outlets) to mobile-couponing startups (Cellfire) to banks and other institutions that use mobile as an extension of customer services. The new fee could even impact the political arena, where high-profile candidates such as Barack Obama are using text messaging to woo voters and keep supporters informed.
RCR calls it a “major precedent”, and you have to think that if Verizon can get away with this, with limited repercussions, its competitors will be tempted to stick their hands in the same cookie jar.