Verizon Raising Messaging Rates for Mobile Marketing Programs

Effective July 1, 2017, Verizon is implementing a carrier pass-through fee for sending mobile marketing messages to consumers on the Verizon network through a short code. This means that sending both SMS and MMS messages to your mobile marketing database is going to be a little more expensive. To learn more, watch the video below…


If you’re getting déjà vu regarding Verizon raising rates for mobile marketing programs, you’re not going crazy. Verizon attempted to raise messaging rates for mobile programs, with an announcement from the wireless carrier on October 8, 2008. Verizon announced that effective November 1, 2008, the wireless carrier would assess a transaction fee of $0.03 (3 cents) for every mobile terminated message processed on it’s wireless network.

The day after Verizon’s announcement, October 9, 2008, MobileMarketer ran a story titled Verizon Wireless transaction fee could affect SMS text messaging, where industry veterans shared their outrage at Verizon’s new $0.03 per-message fee. This story got picked up all over the internet, including an article in TechCrunch titled Will Verizon’s New Three-Cent Hike Kill SMS Services? The very next day, October 10, 2008, Verizon released a statement backtracking the new fee for mobile marketing programs. The entirety of Verizon’s statement can be found here.

So how much is this new Verizon carrier pass-through fee, and what type of messages will it affect? See below.

  • MT SMS Messages: $0.0025/msg
  • MT MMS Messages: $0.0050/msg

As a reminder, above are the messaging fees that will be implemented for messages sent via short codes to consumers on the Verizon network. These new fees have been mandated by Verizon and will be passed through to clients at the same rates charged to SMS aggregators by Verizon. The above-listed messaging fees will be uniformly charged to all vendors sending messages via the Verizon network.

After July 1, 2017, the wireless carriers listed below charge the following pass-through rates for both mobile originated (MO) and mobile terminated (MT) SMS messages.

MO MT Market Share
Verizon $0.0000 $0.0025 31%
T-Mobile $0.0025 $0.0025 19%
Sprint $0.0050 $0.0050 14%
U.S. Cellular $0.0000 $0.0035 1%
ClearSky $0.0000 $0.0020  0%

For MMS messages, the wireless carriers listed below charge the following pass-through rates for both mobile originated (MO) and mobile terminated (MT) messages.

MO MT Market Share
Verizon $0.0000 $0.0050 38%
T-Mobile $0.0100 $0.0100 18%
Sprint $0.0250 $0.0250 24%
U.S. Cellular $0.0000 $0.0100 1%
ClearSky $0.0000 $0.0020  0%
  • T-Mobile includes T-Mobile and MetroPCS (GSM)
  • Sprint includes Boost, Sprint, and Virgin Mobile
  • ClearSky includes Cellular One of N.E. Arizona, East Kentucky Network/Appalachian Wireless, Pine Cellular, United Wireless, Pioneer Cellular, Nemont/Sagebrush, Mobi PCS, Leaco, Chariton Valley Cellular, / Republic Wireless, MobileNation/SI Wireless, MTA Wireless/Matanuska Kenai, Brightlink, Enflick (TextNow), Inteliquent, Triangle Mobile
  • Market Share represents U.S. A2P market share based on SMS short code traffic.

Most likely you’ll have noticed that one major U.S. wireless carrier is missing from the wireless carriers above that are charging a carrier pass-through fee. That wireless carrier is AT&T, and with 30% of SMS, and 18% of MMS short code messages being sent to AT&T customers, that represents a significant marketshare. With AT&T being the only major wireless carrier in the U.S. not to have a wireless carrier pass-through fee, it’s a good bet that you’ll see AT&T implementing this type of fee for mobile marketing programs in the near future.

In the comments section below, let us know how, or if Verizon’s carrier pass-through fee will affect your mobile marketing programs. Also, let us know what you think the odds are that AT&T follows Verizon’s lead and implements their own carrier pass-through fee before the end of the year.

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  • Ipee Freely

    Wow – this is a very informative video and blog post, Derek. Keep up the good work!

  • Thanks for the kind words!

  • Stanley Holt

    Thanks for the update, Derek (even though I’m just getting to it now).

    Do you know how the increased cost would show up in our monthly invoice? We’re with Nexmo, but maybe there’s some general rule about breaking out this end-user carrier cost from our own carrier cost?

  • No sorry, you’d have to ask Nexmo. It’s pretty standard for this to appear on a bill though as a “carrier pass-through fee”, and be in addition to the basic messaging fees.

  • Stanley Holt

    Thanks, Derek.