:-O Shocking bills from emoji with some handsets :’-(
Long favoured as a quick and expressive way of communicating, often to amusing effect, many people using have been caught unawares of the potential costs of sending emoji’s and emoticons.
Emoji are small digital images that can be installed into a smartphone to make a library of graphics for every mood. As they appear in the body of text messages they are usually treated as standard Short Message Service (SMS) messages when it comes to billing. However, some older model handsets, it has been discovered, read emoji as Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). This type of message is billed at significantly more than a standard SMS text message and often is not included in bundled tariffs.
Even using keyboard combinations to create an emoticon, such as typing ‘colon, dash, close parenthesis’ [ : – ) ] for a smiley face is not a sure way to avoid the MMS charge. This is because combinations of keyboard characters and symbols can be converted by handsets into an emoji – again triggering the message to be charged as a MMS.
O2 has advised, in a statement to the BBC1 :
“If a customer is using a smart phone to send text messages to more than one person at the same time, they could be charged the cost of sending an MMS. It can also happen when the message contains icons, emoticons and symbols or an email address. And some apps (such as Facebook) that integrate with a customer’s contact list in their smart phone may result in an MMS charge too, to stop this happening, customers should make sure they don’t include symbols, icons or emoticons and also disable the integration between their contact list and apps like Facebook.”
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