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-Mobile sued for blocking medical marijuana text messages

September 23, 2010

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By Suzanne Choney

T-Mobile is being sued for blocking text messages dealing with medical marijuana from a company that sends out group messages for all kinds of businesses, including the marijuana website.

New York-based EZ Texting recently filed suit in U.S. District Court against T-Mobile, alleging on Sept. 10 the carrier started blocking all messages by the company’s clients because T-Mobile “did not approve” of text messages sent by one of those clients,, using EZ Texting’s services.

The marijuana website, also known as, describes itself as “a community where medical marijuana patients connect with other patients in their geographic region to freely discuss and review local cannabis co-operatives, dispensaries, medical doctors and delivery services.”

EZ Texting, in the lawsuit, said it is being “irreparably damaged in its business because of the blocking by T-Mobile….The thousands of EZ Texting’s customers — which include both for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations — that rely on EZ Texting’s short code (which is akin to a telephone number for text messages) cannot be reached by T-Mobile’s cell phone users, nor can those businesses and non-profits reach T-Mobile’s cell phone users.”

In a statement to, T-Mobile said it “believes that the recent complaint filed by EZ Texting is without merit,” and is “pleased that the court rejected EZ Texting’s motion for early relief.”

T-Mobile said that “each carrier has a process to ensure that content providers like EZ Texting follow the Mobile Marketing Association’s U.S. Consumer Best Practices Guidelines for Cross-Carrier Mobile Content Programs, as well as other regulations applicable to the mobile content business.”

When the carrier said it found that EZ Texting “had not followed this process for WeedMaps … we turned off the short code that EZ Texting was using for these services. The content of the WeedMaps service simply had nothing to do with T-Mobile’s decision.”

T-Mobile, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier, trying to position itself as a “family network,” recently introduced a “Kids are Free” promotion, and teamed up with Wal-Mart.

Since 2007, advocacy group Public Knowledge has been trying to get the Federal Communications Commission to declare that text messaging is “subject to the same nondiscrimination rules as voice communications.” The group says the T-Mobile/EZ Texting case is proof of why such nondiscrimination rules are needed.

Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, said on the organization’s website that the case is “yet another example of a totally arbitrary decision by a carrier to block text message calls between consumers and organizations they want to communicate with. The FCC should put a fast end to this blocking by issuing the ruling we asked them for three years ago. EZ Texting and other companies should be able to focus on growing their business rather than filing lawsuits to prevent blocking.”

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