CPP in SMS: Major hindrance today

[ru] Мы с нашей проблемой отключения МТС шлюза email-SMS не одиноки. Твиттер отключил SMS уведомления для всего мира за исключением США, Канады и Индии. Причина, думаю сходная: только в Северной Америке (насчёт Индии не уверен) мобильные абоненты платят за входящие СМС и получают обслуживание по высшему разряду. У нас беслпатно, но и никаких гарантий, как с freeware.

“Calling Party Pays” (CPP) telecom paradigm looks good at first sight: you can use a premium service of which mobile telephony is a notable example, and still pay nothing for it.

Of course, it’s not completely free – a person calling or texting you pays for both ends of the link: sending of the message by them and receiving it by you. It is the popular impression of freeness which prompted speedier development in early mobile history in Europe compared to North America which has been stuck with MPP (“Mobile Party Pays”).

Now, as the world’s mobile industry matured and new business models with unusual requirements started to emerge, one of the industry’s cornerstones – CPP – seems to be breaking the progress.

Microblogging service Twitter is a new startup in social networking whose service revolves around SMS. The peculiarity about Twitter is that incoming (mobile terminated) SMS volume is multiple of the outgoing (mobile originated) volume. The model just doesn’t fit quite well into CPP which naturally expects a sort of symmetry in traffic.

While Twitter is a big success in US and Canada (where MPP is in place), they’ve faced obstacles in Europe, Australia (and other parts of the world) so large (they claimed each European user is going to cost them $1000/year) that they had to shutdown their core operations in those regions.

The cause – SMS texts are free to receive in there and the biz just cannot sustain it that way (that is cannot pay for them to be free).

By contrast, in US and Canada mobile subscribers pay themselves for every text they receive from anybody. They are happy to make those payments. This also benefits mobile networks, which in turn are very happy to collaborate with Twitter. Unlike European operators, which want to charge Twitter a grand per year for each user involved, I’m sure they give Twitter a cut from each text sent. In other words, it is all profitable right off the bat.

Another recent example of a failed service: MTS has shutdown the email-to-SMS gateway in Ukraine. Officially, MTS claimed their customers asked them to stop providing the free service, referencing some obscure fraud schemes targeted at the customers, supposedly taking place on a large scale. In reality, same money issue was likely the cause: the operator could not afford all those SMS to be completely free (it costs nothing to send SMS from a regular email client).

There are sluggish proposals to implement paying solutions for users of communities like Twitter to benefit from the service like normal Americans benefit. However, the modern trend is to shift paying functions to mobile systems not from them.

I mean, users are accustomed to pay for mobile-unrelated stuff like games or parking with their mobile phones, so to pay money to a 3rd party for what is basically a communications function of your mobile is definitely counter-progressive to the whole system.

So, might this be the moment to revise which party should pay – calling or mobile?

Should a mobile user pay for their mobility?

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