Messenger apps are big business now. As the internet has expanded and carriers, manufacturers and developers have realised people like to talk about anything, numerous messenger apps, services and features have come to the market. After all, why would Facebook pay upwards of $19 billion for WhatsApp unless it was good business? In fact, we only just last month heard a report from App Annie which clearly indicated the app markets to watch in 2015 will be the 'share economy' apps and Messenger apps. It seems, talking is good business.
The one thing all these apps have in common though is that they rely on data. Now, if the recent headlines of 'unlimited data' makes your blood boil due to the carriers reportedly charging for unlimited data that no one seems to get. Then spare a thought for those who are actually getting charged for using smiley faces and winks. Emojis are everywhere. Texts, emails, notifications, it seems you cannot get through the day anymore, without some form of written word coming attached with a small bouncing smile, frown or wink. While we all throw them onto the end of our messages without thinking, it seems some users on older devices, are reporting that they have started to be charged for the privilege. Now to be clear, these charges only seem to come into play on older devices (pre April 2014) and only when used in text messages. The problem seems to be, these older devices convert SMS (text) into MMS (pictures) when an emoji is included. What's more, some carriers are trying to charge for those MMS messages. The most famous of these cases is happening right now in the UK with the UK carrier EE (source link below).
According to a spokesperson for EE and in respect of the current UK issue, the emphasis is on manufacturers and not carriers "In this case it was caused by the settings on her handset and so this is a manufacturer – rather than a network – issue". As mentioned this seems to only be an issue affecting older devices, but it is still one you should be aware of. If you do have an older device, then you can ensure you do not fall into the same trap by heading into your settings and making sure your device is set to 'UniCode' under 'Input Mode'. How upset would you be if you were suddenly charged for using a smiley face? Let us know.