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AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint Say So Long to Spam Texts

By Craig Galbraith
November 22, 2013 - News

It could be the best news since the do-not-call list — but hopefully it will be more effective.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint – three of the big four mobile operators in the U.S. – will no longer charge you for those annoying texts that you get from people/companies you don't know.

You've surely received some and been tricked to open them if they have a catchy subject line. Some even prompt you to text back. Once new measures from the carriers go into effect in a few days, these spam messages from third parties, often referred to as "premium SMS," will no longer appear on your phone bill.

The announcement was made on Thursday by William Sorrell, Vermont's attorney general, who got AGs from 44 other states to get on board with the initiative.

"We are pleased that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have decided to stop the flow of money from the pockets of ordinary people to the bank accounts of scam artists," said Sorrell. "We’re hopeful the other carriers will soon follow their lead."

Texts from charities and political endeavors, for the most part, will be exempt from the new guidelines.

While Verizon Wireless was not involved in this collaborative effort, the carrier said it is independently winding down its premium message service, telling The Verge: " ... For years, Verizon has been vigilant in protecting our customers from bad actors. There have been numerous times we have terminated programs and in some cases have taken aggressive legal action in order to ensure our customers were protected. ... Verizon had previously decided to exit the premium messaging business because of these changes as well as recent allegations that third parties have engaged in improper conduct in providing premium messaging services to our customers ... "

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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