TORONTO — Remind.com is claiming a partial victory after waging a social media campaign designed to persuade Rogers and Bell to reverse a fee increase that indirectly affected a free two-way texting service for teachers, students and parents.
The San Francisco-based company had warned it wouldn’t be able to provide the free texting version of its service to its Canadian users who have wireless plans with Rogers, Bell, or their respective subsidiaries.
Remind said Friday in an email and on Twitter that Bell Canada had informed the company that it will reverse the fee increase but Rogers Communications Inc. hadn’t done so.
A spokesman for Bell said in an email to The Canadian Press that it has agreed to an extension of the old fees while the carrier works towards a longer-term business arrangement with Remind.
Rogers didn’t comment on the situation prior to the publication deadline.
All the companies have acknowledged that the Remind service can be accessed over a cellular data service, but those may incur carrier fees.
Remind’s app has a variety of uses including notifying groups about class assignments, schedules of emergencies as well as two-way communications between individual teachers, students and parents.
Rogers and Bell have said previously they don’t have a direct contractual relationship with Remind — which accesses their networks through two intermediary companies — but they were willing to discuss a compromise.
None of the companies’ representatives would disclose the per-message fees involved.
But Remind chief executive Brian Grey said in an interview its annual costs would jump from “tens of thousands of dollars” to “hundreds of thousands of dollars” and the increase is unsustainable for the company at this stage of its development.
Grey said Remind doesn’t use its platform as a method for distributing advertising and its revenue comes from the sale of a large-scale version of the service to schools and districts, a practice launched in January 2017 in the United States.
“Longer term, our plan would be to bring that to Canada and other markets. But we’re just not there yet,” Grey said.
Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:BCE)
David Paddon, The Canadian Press