Bell & Telus called before Federal Industry Minister

There’s a bit of “you better get explaining yourself boys” going on…


OTTAWA—The federal Industry Minister is calling the chiefs of Bell Mobility and Telus to a meeting to explain an “ill-thought out decision” to charge cell phone users for incoming text messages.

Jim Prentice issued a statement saying he doesn’t want to interfere in the operations of two private companies but has “serious concerns” that they will begin charging customers 15 cents for text messages they receive starting next month.

Bell plans to levy the new charge starting Aug. 8. Telus will follow suit Aug. 24.

“I do have a duty as Minister of Industry, when necessary, to protect the interests of the consuming public,” Prentice wrote in a statement. “I believe this was an ill-thought-out decision.”

One of the chief concerns is that cell-phone users, particularly the young, will be charged for spam text messages that they receive.

According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, an average of 45.3-million text messages are sent by Canadians each day.

Spokespeople for the two firms have said that customers can contact them to have charges for spam messages deleted from their bills. Heavy text message users also have the option of signing up for a special plan that could reduce overall costs.

Prentice has sent letters to the chief executives of the two companies asking for a meeting before the new charges come into effect Aug. 8 to explain the decision “with a view to finding a solution that provides the best service to consumers at the best price.”

(Is it wrong that I’m enjoying this? 😀

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