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Twitter silenced in Canada

Canuck twits hurt by SMS billing

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Canada is the latest country to lose SMS Twitter alerts after the company failed to put together a deal that would make the service cost effective, leaving Canucks to rely on internet-based alternatives.

The announcement came on the Twitter blog and repeats the optimistic line that the company is working on putting together a deal - presumably once it's managed to do that in the UK, where the service was suspended in August. The problems in Canada echo those faced in Europe: we don't pay to receive messages, but someone has to pay and Twitter can't afford to foot the bill any more. Twitter users can still send messages to the Canadian short code, but they won't be bounced out over SMS any more.

For a company that still lacks a revenue stream some cost-cutting seems inevitable, and one can only imagine Twitter believes that SMS will go the way of the telex once users realise how much better internet-based twittering is. But the death of SMS has been predicted many times - operators get into a fuzz over it every few years, usually when an IM-enabled handset is launched, then relax when the revenue continues rolling in.

But there is hope for Twitter: if Viviane Reding can convince us all to pay for receiving calls, and messages, then Twitter could return to Europe at least, which seems as good a reason as any to campaign against such a change. ®

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