Twitter cuts mobile service

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Microblogging service Twitter is cutting its mobile services in most parts of the world.

The company said that it would be ending a program which allows users to receive Twitter updates via SMS. Users will still be able to send updates to the service over SMS.

The service will continue to operate unchanged in the US, Canada and India.

Twitter blamed the cuts on mobile operators. The company explained in a blog posting that costs to distribute the updates to every person on a user's subscriber list had become too high, and operators had been unwilling to work out special rates for the service.

Twitter estimates its costs to be as high as US$1,000 per user outside of the US, Canada and India.

"When you send one message to Twitter and we send it to ten followers, you aren't charged ten times, that's because we've been footing the bill," the company said.

"We took a risk hoping to bring more nations onboard and more mobile operators around to our way of thinking but we've arrived at a point where the responsible thing to do is slow our costs and take a different approach."

The company vowed to continue negotiations with the operators and plans to add local SMS numbers to send updates in the near future.

For receiving updates on mobile phones, the company recommends that users fire up their mobile browsers and access one of several mobile-optimized browser pages to get their Twitter fix.

Specially-made Twitter applications are also available for the iPhone, Blackberry and Java-enabled handsets.
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