Three sneaks in 1p charge for SMS delivery reports

Three will introduce a 1p charge for each SMS delivery notification received from 6 June. Some users are not best pleased.

Andy Merrett
Andy Merrett has been using mobile phones since the days when they only made voice calls. Since then he has worked his way through a huge number of Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson models. Andy is a freelance writer and is not an employee of CNET.
Andy Merrett
2 min read

Three will introduce a 1p charge for every SMS delivery notification requested from 6 June.

We discovered the change while reading about the recent Ofcom rulings on cross-network call charges. While O2, Everything Everywhere and Vodafone dispute the regulator's calculation of what they can reasonably charge for accepting incoming calls from another network, Three is calling for a drastic reduction, or even scrapping, of the charges.

Across the networks, so-called 'mobile termination rates' are estimated to account for around ten per cent of revenue. They're paid by both mobile and fixed-line operators when calls are placed between networks. Three, as the UK's 'little guy' mobile network, believes it has the least to lose by doing away with them. But, with networks losing revenue from a variety of sources, they'll be looking to make up lost termination fees in other ways.

Text-delivery notifications aren't for everyone, but they can be very useful, particularly as messages can go astray or be significantly delayed from time to time. It's easy enough to turn off these notifications -- they're usually turned off by default anyway -- and Three helpfully provides interactive guides for doing so on the major handsets, but we wonder how many of the operator's customers know about the future charges.

A quick perusal of Three's Twitter feed sees the company defending its charges. "It's not free on all the other networks. Orange charge the same and O2 block this service," Three tweeted.

One customer replied: "I've spoken to two friends on Orange and only one of them pays such charges. I guess it varies by contract/tariff."

Another suggested Three has broken their contract by not giving 30 days' notice of the change.

It looks like the argument will rumble on but don't expect Three to back down. It's already one of the UK's most complained-about networks. If you really object to the 1p charge but need to ensure someone's received your message, perhaps you'll just have to call them instead.

Are you a Three customer? What do you think of the charge? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.