It appears that Google has put its SMS Channels service in cold storage: I was just checking MediaNama’s SMS Channel, and noticed that the services have been suspended. Why? Because of a rise in Bulk SMS rates in India it appears. We’re probably a few months late with this info (goes to show how often we check our SMS channel subscription state), because it found a mention in the comments here in November last year, but we just thought it’s worth a mention that the service has been discontinued. This is the second service that Google has paused (really?) or discontinued in India: It shut down its voice search business back in April 2012.

sms-channels-google-india

Of course, the SMS channels do not deliver to the Do Not Call subscribers in India, so I haven’t received a message in years. We had 794 subscribers, but we’re not sure of how many of them were actually receiving SMS’ because many might have been on the DND registry.

What’s a little surprising is the indication that it is due to an increase in costs. The Indian telecom regulator had added a charge of Rs 0.05 for promotional SMS, which meant that you could probably send around 900 SMS’ for $1, but expand that across thousand of content sites and hundreds of thousands, if not millions of messages, I guess it does add up. However, we’re not sure if content SMS via Google would be treated as promotional messages. So what pushed Bulk SMS charges up? Have they even gone up?

Also note that shifting GTalk chats to SMS isn’t too expensive for Google. That, apparently, still works:

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Google did take longer than MyToday to pull the plug on the SMS service. MyToday had shuttered its SMS service last year in January.

Some recommended reading, if you’re interested in what happened to SMS. Last year, we’d pointed towards the decline of SMS in India, and the growth of messaging services that use data as a bearer.

Supreme Court Stays Order Removing 200 SMS/Day Limit
TRAI Issues New Guidelines To Curb Spam SMS; Sets Free SMS Cap Of 100 Per Day
On TRAI’s New Draft Guidelines For Mobile Spam SMS & Calls; Our Take
Implications Of Delhi High Court’s Removal Of The 200 SMS Per Day Limit In India
Telemarketers Sending Promotional Messages On Transactional Pipe
TRAI Issues Directives To Tackle SMS Spam From International Numbers
Seven SMS Aggregators Sign SMS Code Of Conduct; Shun International SMS Workaround
Do TRAI’s Amended SMS Spam Regulations Exempt Free Content Subscriptions From DND?
TRAI’s SMS License Raj: Expands Telemarketer Definition To Include E-commerce, Brokers, Insurance & More
SMS Spam: How To Get Your Co Whitelisted With TRAI For 100+ SMS Per Day
Phone.cc: How Netcore’s Is Trying To Provide A Workaround For TRAI SMS Spam Regulations
How TRAI’s SMS Guidelines Are Killing My Startup – Dayson Pais, Textme
Public List: What Doesn’t Work Post TRAI’s SMS Spam Guidelines
TRAI Relaxes 100 SMS Per Day Restriction For E-Tickets, Social Networks, Directories, DTH & More