Twitter stops SMS alert service in UK

SMS too expensive, says company.

Twitter has removed text message support for its U.K. users, blaming costs as the reason behind the decision.

The microblogging site had previously allowed users to send message to their friends over the web using SMS or instant messaging (IM) but the removal of the text service in the U.K. means members will have to rely on IM to update their friends on their activities. However, SMS updates are still available to U.S., Canadian and Indian-based users.

According to co-founder Biz Stone, the service has been removed in the U.K. because of the associated costs.

"When you send one message to Twitter and we send it to ten followers, you aren't charged ten times, that's because we've been footing the bill. Even with a limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter about $1,000 (£500) per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada, India, or the US. It makes more sense for us to establish fair billing arrangements with mobile operators than it does to pass these high fees on to our users," he said in a blog.

"It pains us to take this measure. However, we need to avoid placing undue burden on our company and our service."

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