UK Operators Drop Processing Fees for Charity Premium Text Messages

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The UK's main mobile network operators 3 O2 Orange T Mobile Virgin and Vodafone have jointly agreed to waive their processing charges for premium SMS messages when used by the Red Nose Day charity appeal.

The mobile industry have agreed to waive their usual charges to ensure a £1 or £5 text means a £1 or £5 donation to Comic Relief, and HM Treasury has confirmed that because of this no VAT (sales tax) will be charged on these donations.

The £5 text number (66609) opened on 2 March and will be one of the options viewers can use to donate on the night of TV on 13 March, and since 27 February Radio 1 listeners have been able to send a £1 text (88808) to sponsor the celebrity team on the Red Nose Climb. Both donation lines close at midnight on 31 March 2009.

Emma Freud, Trustee of Comic Relief, said: "The spirit of the entire mobile industry has taken our breath away. We believe receiving every penny from texts donated by the public will make the most remarkable difference - helping us to transform and save literally thousands of lives. An astonishing £190,000 was donated via the £1 text donation line on the first day it opened on Radio 1, and in that week it raised nearly £800,000. We have high hopes for the £5 text line on Red Nose Day."

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms, said: "The Government is fully behind the very important work of Comic Relief. That's why I'm delighted to confirm that no VAT will be charged on donations, so every penny donated will go straight to Comic Relief."

The SMS service is being provided by Buongiorno, in collaboration with Mobile Interactive Group (MIG).

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Tags: orange  t-mobile  mms  sms  eu  vodafone  o2  premium sms  charity  vat  virgin 

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