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T-Mobile asks court to reject lawsuit over text messages

T-Mobile asked a federal court on Wednesday to reject a lawsuit brought by text marketing firm EZ Texting that claims the wireless service provider violated federal communications rules by blocking its text messages for a medical marijuana Web site.

In a case that raises questions about the federal oversight of text messaging -- a increasingly popular form of communications for cell phone users -- T-Mobile wrote in a preliminary statement to the court that its decision to block the service was not based on the Web site's content. Instead, it dropped EZ Texting's service because the marketing firm violated contract guidelines.

Specifically, it said that EZ Texting was supposed to get approval from T-Mobile when it sought to use short code 313131 to send text marketing alerts for Weedmaps.com. T-Mobile had originally approved that short code service to market for bars and nightclubs.

T-Mobile told the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York that according to industry guidelines it has adopted, it could reject text messaging content in order to "protect the carriers’ customers, businesses, and brands from offensive, abusive, fraudulent, or illegal information services."

Last week, New York-based EZ Texting sued T-Mobile, the nation's fourth largest mobile service provider, saying that text messages should be subject to the same phone rules that prohibit telecom providers from blocking calls in order to protect the rights of consumers to access content of their choice.

"T-Mobile's reason for blocking EZ Texting is irrelevant as T-Mobile has no right to block EZ Texting in the first place," EZ TExting chief executive Shane Neman said in an e-mailed statement.

Public interest group Public Knowledge has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to recognize the growing importance of text messaging and classify text messages as a common carrier telecom service with those same rules.

Currently, the rules on text messaging are vague and T-Mobile said texts are considered information services, which a federal court recently said isn't clearly under the FCC's authority to regulate.

By Cecilia Kang  | September 23, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  FCC, Net Neutrality, T-Mobile  
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Comments

Much better. Thank you.

Posted by: overed | September 23, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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