Remind.com recently announced that beginning on January 28, 2019, seven million Verizon customers would no longer receive texts from a free and beneficial education app known as Remind.
You may have been one of the millions of people who received the following email message from Remind.com:
We’re sorry to write with disappointing news. Recently, we learned that Verizon will be charging Remind a new fee that makes it impossible for us to continue supporting free text messaging for anyone who has Verizon Wireless as their phone carrier. Please read on for all the important details—we promise to keep this as short as we can.
To offer our text messaging service free of charge, Remind has always paid for each text that our users receive or send. Now, Verizon is charging Remind an additional fee intended for companies that send spam over its network. Your Remind messages aren’t spam, but our efforts to resolve the issue with Verizon haven’t been successful.
As a result, the Verizon fee will increase our costs of providing text messaging by 11X—pushing our annual costs into the millions of dollars. This isn’t financially feasible for us to support, and it’s forcing us to end Remind text messaging for everyone who has a wireless plan with Verizon.
How will this affect you?
Beginning January 28, 2019, the people in your classes who normally get your Remind messages as texts will no longer receive these messages if they have Verizon Wireless as their phone carrier.
What can you do?
To make sure people in your classes continue receiving your messages, ask them to download the mobile app or enable email notifications—both of which are free of charge. Our team’s also working hard on a solution that allows your classes to continue to use Remind by text, and we’ll share more details with you before January 28.
In the meantime, we’ll keep fighting to make sure educators, students, and parents have access to effective communication. To do this, we need your help: If using Remind has made a positive impact in your classroom, at your school, or anywhere in between, please ask Verizon to reverse the fee here: www.remind.com/verizon-fee
We’re very grateful for your support, and we’ll be in touch soon with an update.
The Remind team
Verizon had classified the Remind app texts as spam and therefore declared that they would not transfer the Remind texts to Verizon customers. Remind has over 31 million participants and 7 million of them are also paying Verizon for their phone service.
Remind is an app used by administrators, teachers, coaches, and community groups. It is free of charge, and it is enormously useful in the planning of activities, rescheduling of assignments, and the clarification of due dates and expectations. If you want to know more about the service, I wrote about my adoration of the application in a piece entitled Gratefully Addicted to Remind.com.
However, this piece is not about Remind.com.
Verizon wants money. Therefore, they decided to charge Remind a fee to use their network. It was a corporate decision, an option, a choice. Remind cannot support the increased cost, because like public education, they operate on a small budget.
The public outcry was fast and fierce. #ReverseTheFee trended on social media platforms. Verizon felt the “teacher look” directed like a laser beam at their company. In essence, Verizon got schooled. They made a bad choice and needed to try again.
According to EdSurge, the company changed its course. In a piece entitled, “Verizon Promises to #ReverseTheFee on Remind After Educators’ Outcry,” However, EdSurge reports that the Remind company is still not secure in Verizon’s commitment to education, writing:
“In a statement to EdSurge Wednesday night, a Remind spokesperson said: “It’s reassuring to hear that Verizon doesn’t want to drive profits on the backs of students, families, and educators. … [But] Verizon has not signed any agreement with Remind to ensure that fees will be waived for all users of our free service. When we’re assured that a long-term deal is in place to guarantee that all the educators, parents and students currently using our free service can use SMS on the Verizon network without fees, we will be thrilled to continue our service without disruption.’”
Verizon is going to have a tremendous amount of unsatisfied customers if they do not reverse the fee, permanently.
Furthermore, Verizon once supported educators offering them up to a 20 percent discount on their monthly bill. However, recently when an existing customer changes their plan to unlimited data, the educator’s reduction is not offered. Verizon has already earned teachers’ collective attention. Verizon now has a bad reputation. The company needs to learn its lesson and reinstate the educator’s discount, or face a Remind like backlash and a boycott.
Verizon miscalculated the collective strength of educators. We need to demand more from the companies that educators support.
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