Thursday, August 14, 2008

Twitter in China -- changes from the UK

I'm sending you this note because you registered a mobile deviceto work with Twitter over our UK number. I wanted to let youknow that we are making some changes to the way SMS works onTwitter. There is some good news and some bad news.

I'll start with the bad news. Beginning today, Twitter is nolonger delivering outbound SMS over our UK number. If you enjoyreceiving updates from Twitter via +44 762 480 1423, we arerecommending that you explore some suggested alternatives.

Note: You will still be able to UPDATE over our UK number.

Before I go into more detail, here's a bit of good news: Twitterwill be introducing several new, local SMS numbers in countriesthroughout Europe in the coming weeks and months. These newnumbers will make Twittering more accessible for you if you'vebeen using SMS to send long-distance updates from outside the UK.

Why are we making these changes?

Mobile operators in most of the world charge users to sendupdates. When you send one message to Twitter and we send it toten followers, you aren't charged ten times--that's because we'vebeen footing the bill. When we launched our free SMS service tothe world, we set the clock ticking. As the service grew inpopularity, so too would the price.

Our challenge during this window of time was to establishrelationships with mobile operators around the world such thatour SMS services could become sustainable from a cost perspective.We achieved this goal in Canada, India, and the United States.We can provide full incoming and outgoing SMS service withoutpassing along operator fees in these countries.
We took a risk hoping to bring more nations onboard and moremobile operators around to our way of thinking but we've arrivedat a point where the responsible thing to do is slow our costsand take a different approach. Since you probably don't live inCanada, India, or the US, we recommend receiving your Twitterupdates via one of the following methods. works on browser-enabled works on browser-enabled works on email-enabled phonesCellity [] works on java-enabled phonesTwitterBerry [] works on BlackBerry phonesTwitterific [] works on iPhones

Twitter SMS by The Numbers

It pains us to take this measure. However, we need to avoidplacing undue burden on our company and our service. Even with alimit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitterabout $1,000 per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada,India, or the US. It makes more sense for us to establish fairbilling arrangements with mobile operators than it does to passthese high fees on to our users.

Twitter will continue to negotiate with mobile operators inEurope, Asia, China, and The Americas to forge relationshipsthat benefit all our users. Our goal is to provide full, two-wayservice with Twitter via SMS to every nation in a way that issustainable from a cost perspective. Talks with mobile companiesaround the world continue. In the meantime, more local numbersfor updating via SMS are on the way. We'll keep you posted.
Thank you for your attention,

Biz Stone, Co-founderTwitter, Inc.

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