I have been charged by O2 for some text messages I sent though I have unlimited free texts. When I asked O2 about it they said these messages were charged as multimedia messages because I included an emoticon in them. This never happened on my previous phone and I'm wondering what has changed. Apparently its not just O2, as there was a report on the news about 4% of users across all mobile phones being affected and EE was mentioned as well. There is some suggestion that it is down to how the handset treats emoticons. Does the Nokia Lumia (Windows 8.1) treat emoticons as pictures? If so, there is no warning of this that I can see.

  • Ask o2 if they charge you for mms messages.
    – mpapec
    Apr 6 '15 at 14:35
  • 1
    Emoticons should not be treated as pictures - at least it does not for me (on o2 Network). please check if you have activated the "Group text" option in your messaging settings. If so your texts will be sent as an MMS if you choose multiple recipients.
    – Thomas
    Apr 6 '15 at 17:45
  • I've used my Lumia phone(s) for five years now and never been charged for texts with smile/emoji in them until April this year. Suddenly O2 have begun to charge most of my texts with emojis as MMS. When I challenged this they referred me to a page buried in their conditions which says a SMS may be converted to a MMS if (among other things) it contains a smiley or emoji. I have always used them and never been charged before this year. I have never been advised that anything has changed but this has suddenly doubled my phone bill!!
    – Dave Allen
    May 6 '19 at 10:22

Your network operator might charge for MMS messages (where you insert a picture, video clip, etc.), but they shouldn't charge you for SMS messages that use Unicode characters (and EE don't), which can include the emotji from the built in keyboard (via the 😊 icon on the keyboard).

Be careful to watch the character count, as this will force Unicode mode, which limits you to 70 characters per message (and this limit would be the same, irrespective of phone make or model). It might be the case that you've gone over the length for an SMS, and it's being sent as an MMS.

It may be worth following up with your network operator and challenging why you've been charged for those messages.

Additionally, if you've got Group text enabled, replies are sent as (chargeable) MMS messages, even if you don't include a photo/video clip/etc.

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