Rogers Wireless said Tuesday it would begin charging 15 cents for each incoming text message for customers without message plans, beginning on July 7.
The move comes about nine months after rival carriers Bell and Telus made similar changes in their policies.
Rogers spokesperson Liz Hamilton said the decision is in keeping with changes in pricing policies among wireless carriers in both Canada and in the United States.
Charges will affect only a small number of consumers because most already bundle text messaging with their cellphone plans, she said.
Consumers won't be charged for spam text messages and users of the discount brand Fido won't be affected, she said.
When Bell and Telus announced last year they would begin charging 15 cents for incoming texts, it sparked anger among consumers and became an unlikely political issue last summer.
Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton called the move a "cash grab" and the party started a Facebook group to protest the changes. Two Quebec residents launched class-action lawsuits against the companies for changing the terms of their wireless contracts.
Consumers don't have to pay for spam messages
Industry Minister Jim Prentice met with Bell and Telus and said after the meeting that his government would not introduce new legislation over the changes.
Prentice was assured by the carriers that consumers charged for spam could contact their service providers and have their charges removed from their bills.
The government's anti-spam bill, introduced last month, also includes new enforcement measures to prevent telecommunications companies from charging customers fees for receiving unsolicited commercial text messages.
The announcement of the change to text messaging fees came the same day Rogers announced that both Rogers Wireless and Fido phones will be able to send and receive updates from online messaging service Twitter by SMS text message.
The feature comes at no additional cost to people with text messaging plans, said Rogers. Bell Mobility worked out a similar agreement with Twitter in February.
However, a charge of 15 cents per Twitter message will apply to those consumers who don't have text plans, including Fido customers.
We initially reported the charges would apply to customers without unlimited text plans. In fact, the charges would only apply to customers without any text plan, regardless of whether the plan was unlimited.May 05, 2009 4:14 PM ET