The hubbub between T-Mobile and EZ Texting has made its way to federal court in New York. On Wednesday, Washington-based T-Mobile told a federal judge that it has the right to screen text messages before sending them over the network to subscribers.
Earlier this week, T-Mobile began blocking text messages sent from EZ Texting to T-Mobile customers seeking medical marijuana dispensaries. The company wrote in a filing in New York federal court that it “has discretion to require pre-approval for any short-code marketing campaigns run on its network, and to enforce its guidelines by terminating programs for which a content provider failed to obtain the necessary approval.”
The filing goes on to state that T-Mobile’s program for short codes allows content providers to “transmit information services (including text messages, ringtones, games, wallpaper, and other content)” over the network to customers who opt into the service by sending a message to a unique 5- or 6-digit short code. The issue it seems is that EZ Texting never submitted the Weed Maps campaign to T-Mobile for approval.
Rules about what wireless carriers can and cannot do has been up in the air since 2007 when the FCC was supposed to draw a line in the sand, which never happened. This particular case is the first of its kind.