Update: All Four Major Carriers Now Waiving Fees For Haiti SMS Donations

Update 2: Sprint has also announced that it is waiving fees, retroactive to Wednesday. (Thanks to changebumpin!)
Update: MSNBC has updated their article, and they say that AT&T has announced it will waive fees for donations, and apply the exemption retroactively to those who have already donated. (Thanks to Mathew for the heads up.)


[original post]

MSNBC asked Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint whether or not they’re charging for the popular “text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10″ meme that’s been going around online for the past two days, and that so far has raked in over three million dollars. Verizon and T-Mobile say they’re not. Sprint says they are, but that if you just upgrade to an unlimited text message package then you won’t have to worry about it.

What makes this even more ridiculous is that text messaging costs carriers next to nothing–it’s almost pure profit. AT&T and Sprint have apparently decided that they’d like to get in on the Haiti disaster and make a little something something off of the goodwill of their customers. My suggestion: if you’re an AT&T or a Sprint customer, donate some other way.

Update: I’d take readers who stand up for companies more seriously if I saw more evidence that they thought like companies. A business like AT&T should have known from the start that making those messages free, and then crowing about it softly via the magic of PR, would be good for the brand, and that means good for profits. The fact that two competitors did just that shows me that some carriers were indeed thinking about long-term self interest, and how to turn public tragedy into a plus sum scenario for the greater good as well as the company. AT&T and Sprint just weren’t.

“Mobile giving to help Haiti exceeds $3 million” [MSNBC] (Thanks to Matthew!)