AT&T, Inc. (T)
looks to continue its modifications to its smartphone plans, announcing this
week that it would soon be terminating the budget texting tier and forcing new
customers to either enter the $20 USD/month "unlimited" tier, agree to more expensive pay-per-text fees, or
forgo texting altogether. AT&T does also offer a consolidated $30
USD/month tier for family lines, which offers a slight discount.
The budget tier was a relatively good deal -- $10 USD for 1,000 messages, or
roughly $0.01 USD per message. Sadly, such days of budget-friendly plans
on AT&T are long gone.
Text messaging is becoming a cash cow for AT&T. SMS texting is typically
relegated to "slow" connections on phone networks. And an SMS
text is around 140 bytes. So at AT&T's own 2 GB for $25 USD/month
plan, you would have to send 12,271,335 texts to get your money's
worth. Or assuming we're talking MMS texts, which have fancy pants
pictures, you'd have to send 1638 1280x768 pictures to get your $20 USD/month
worth on the texting plan.
In other words, AT&T is grossly overcharging people on texting, in almost
all cases, based on its own data plans. Of course, it's not the only
carrier to be doing this.
The new rules go into effect on August 21, at which time the $10 texting offer
will vanish for new plans. Current customers can keep their $10 USD/month
For those that want to get away from carrier texting
altogether, you could always go the Google
Voice route for free outgoing and incoming texts. On the downside, however,
Google Voice doesn’t currently support MMS and you’ll have to deal with another
AT&T currently is the nation's second most expensive
carrier, behind only Verizon
AT&T not only doesn't
offer unlimited data, it throttles
"heavy" data users' tiered connections, as well.
In recent months the company has moved
forward to acquire Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile
USA, which would make it the largest carrier in the U.S. An AT&T
spokesperson recently told DailyTech that their company vowed
T-Mobile customers' current contracts, but left the door open to forcing
them into AT&T contracts by saying that offer only applied to
"comparable" phones to their current one. Thus eventually
T-Mobile customers could be in for a rude awakening, should the deal be
In other related news AT&T recently announced free
botnet protection for its subscribers, and rolled out LTE
wireless internet options.
quote: FCC... DOJ... anyone, anyone?
quote: Would your world crumble if you weren't able to text?
quote: How can you believe in the free market system "completely" and then say that you want the government to intervene?
quote: The point is that AT&T and Verizon are acting with increasing belligerence towards their customers simply because they can.
quote: or go with another carrier