Remind is a San Francisco-based service which offers schools the ability to send text messages to teachers, students and parents, and is used by Canadian educational institutions.
But in earlier this week, Remind launched a social media campaign urging its Canadian customers to press Rogers and Bell to reverse a recent hike in SMS fees.
To our teachers, parents, & students in Canada: We’re disappointed to share that new telecom fees are forcing us to discontinue text messaging for @Rogers and @Bell customers starting January 28. More on why and what to do: https://t.co/O6xmKuwF83 #ReverseTheFee #RemindForCanada pic.twitter.com/MczRlEp2hD
— Remind (@RemindHQ) January 7, 2019
Due to the SMS price increase, Remind says customers on Rogers, Bell or subsidiaries of the latter will no longer receive or send text messages with the service, as of January 28, 2018, including the following:
7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless
good2go Mobile Canada
Here’s how Remind explains the changes from Rogers and Bell—they note their pricing is surging “25x our current cost”:
To offer our text messaging service free of charge, Remind has always paid for each text that users receive or send. Now, Rogers and Bell are charging us additional fees intended for companies that send spam over their networks.
Remind messages aren’t spam, but that hasn’t helped us resolve the issue with Rogers and Bell. Their fees are increasing our cost of supporting SMS in Canada to at least 25X our current cost—forcing us to end Remind text messaging for everyone on the Rogers and Bell networks.
Remind is urging its customers on social media to tweet both Canadian wireless companies the following, to put pressure on them to lower SMS fees or reverse changes:
@Rogers @Bell #ReverseTheFee #RemindForCanada
The U.S. company also has listed the emails and phone numbers of provincial and territory Ministers of Education, urging their nearly 1 million Canadian users to reach out to them
According to CBC News, Rogers told the publication, “We know how important it is for educators and parents to stay connected,” adding “Last year we reached out and made every effort to work out a more than fair agreement with them that would have met their SMS needs on our network. Unfortunately, they were not satisfied.”
Bell told CBC News, “We were contacted by Remind for the first time last week about the increased costs they’re facing. We are talking to them and Syniverse about what can be done to address their concerns.”
On December 1, Bell said it started to charge Syniverse a “very nominal fee”, after a high number of spam SMS appeared on the company’s network.
Both Rogers and Bell deal with two intermediary companies—Syniverse and Twilio— and not directly with Remind.
Remind chief executive, Brian Grey, told CBC News the increase in yearly costs would increase from to “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” compared to “tens of thousands of dollars”, making business unsustainable in Canada.
The company’s business model in Canada is a free service to teachers, with hopes of leading into a paid version connected to school information systems, says the executive.
“That’s why this move by Rogers and Bell also is problematic. Basically, it comes at a time when all we are providing to Canada — educators, students and parents — is a free version of our service,” said Grey.
Remind says it is researching other options for the service to reach its Canadian customers, but would rather remain with Bell and Rogers, due to the high number of users here subscribed to both carriers.