Carrier pass through fees in the USA

07 October 2017 by Robert Ling

What is a carrier pass through fee?

What is a carrier pass through fee?

Carrier pass through fees are charged by carriers to receive MT (mobile Terminated) and MO ( Mobile Originated) messages from short codes and deliver them to their subscriber’s hand set or to the short code. This fee is in addition to the cost of sending or receiving the message.


For the past 7 years or so T Mobile; Sprint; US Cellular and Clear Sky have levied carrier pass through fees for MT messages and in some cases MO messages as well. The 2 carriers that have not charged are Verizon and AT&T.

What is changing?

From July 1st 2017 Verizon has introduced a carrier pass through fee of $0.0025 per MT message. AT&T have not at the time of writing, stated they are to introduce the fee but as they are now the only major network not to impose the fee they are likely to follow suite shortly.

What are the fees?

Carrier MO MT Market share
Verizon $NIL $0.0025 31%
T Mobile $0.0025 $0.0025 19%
Sprint $0.005 $0.005 14%
US Cellular $NIL $0.0035 1%

In addition there are many smaller networks that use the Interop. system, they will start charging $0.0015 for MT messages on September 1st 2017. For a full list please see our coverage page.

What will happen to Promptxt pricing?

For the time being, nothing! We have always kept our pricing as simple as possible and charged a rate for MT messages depending on volume, and nothing else. The rate has always included all costs so that our clients know exactly what their cost will be with no hidden “extra” fees as so many of our competitors impose.

We always try to alert potential clients to the extra costs that other companies apply so that they make a fair comparison, this is now increasingly important.


Using a short code for US traffic is by far the most reliable method for sending Application to Person traffic. Other methods are throttled to low throughputs and may well be blocked at any time by some or all the carriers causing reliability issues.

We will continue to use short code routing with a simple charging model that avoids hidden fees so that our clients benefit from the highest quality routing with a transparent, no surprises, cost.

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