EZ Texting claims T-Mobile blocked the company from sending text messages for all of its clients after learning that legalmarijuanadispensary.com, an EZ Texting client, was using its service to send texts about legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California. “T-Mobile subjectively did not approve of one of the thousands of lawful businesses and non-profits served by EZ Texting,” according to New York federal lawsuit.
The suit against T-Mobile, which controls about 15 percent of the U.S. mobile market, comes as the company just announced it was raising its texting prices, which some claim is an abuse of its market share. And the case comes amid a fierce debate surrounding net neutrality, with net giant Google claiming that wireless carriers should not be bound by the same rules as wireline carriers.
Even the New York-based texting service acknowledges that the case raises novel issues. “At the very least, EZ Texting has raised serious questions about the legal ability of a wireless service provider, T-Mobile, to block its customers from exchanging text messages with EZ Texting’s customers,” according to the suit.
A similar text-messaging flap occurred in 2007, but ended without litigation, when Verizon reversed itself and allowed an abortion-rights group to send text messages to its supporters.
T-Mobile, of Bellevue, Washington, said in a statement: “We believe the claims in the lawsuit are meritless.”