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U.S. and Canadian Wireless Service Providers Unify North American Text Message Markets

The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) today announced the introduction of cross-border inter-carrier text messaging services, enabling wireless phone customers to exchange text messages between U.S. national wireless service providers and the major Canadian wireless service providers.

In Canada, this new service is offered by the four national service providers – Bell Mobility, Microcell Solutions (Fido), Rogers AT&T Wireless and TELUS Mobility – as well as the Aliant Mobility, Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) and SaskTel Mobility regional carriers. Participating carriers at this time in the U.S. include AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Nextel Communications, Inc., Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

The new service extends inter-carrier messaging capabilities introduced in 2002 to include inter-carrier text messaging capabilities for customers of national providers on both sides of the border.

Customers of all the major wireless service providers in Canada and each of the national U.S. carriers can now send and receive text messages to and from one wireless phone to another simply by addressing their messages to a recipient’s 10-digit wireless phone number anywhere in Canada or the continental United States. Canada’s inter-carrier messaging gateways are operated and maintained by LogicaCMG and Wireless Services Corporation (WSC). U.S. carriers are served by a variety of gateway vendors including Inphomatch, MobileSpring and WSC.

“Canadians have overwhelmingly embraced text messaging with more than 21 million messages sent in the month of December alone – a monthly increase of 110 per cent since the introduction of the Canadian inter-carrier service in April 2002,” said Peter Barnes, CWTA President and CEO. “Wireless customers on both sides of the border will now be able to keep in contact with business clients, friends or relatives with the affordability and convenience of text messaging.”

Tom Wheeler, President and CEO of CTIA, said, “Wireless carriers are extending text messaging beyond their national borders in direct response to the explosive growth they have experienced in their domestic markets. We expect the growth trajectory to accelerate with the introduction of international and other enhanced messaging capabilities.”

Each carrier will approach billing independently. Plans range from per-message charges to flat-fee bundles. Customers should check with their wireless service providers for details on billing, coverage areas and text message services.

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