AT&T is looking to juice more money from its customers by eliminating budget texting plans.  (Source: Flickr)
You would have to send 12 million SMS text messages a month to get your money's worth, with the plan

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 tier plans.  

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 phone number.

AT&T currently is the nation's second most expensive carrier, behind only Verizon Wireless (VZ).  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 to retain 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 approved.

In other related news AT&T recently announced free botnet protection for its subscribers, and rolled out LTE wireless internet options.

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