I am boycotting Text Messaging

I mean, it’s not like I do it that often anyway (since it’s so freaking expensive), but this (clearly biased, but still somewhat informative) article has convinced me. I usually respond to people’s text message by calling them since it’s cheaper (and usually faster) to call.

Some quotes from the article:

20 class-action lawsuits have been filed around the country against AT&T and the other carriers, alleging price-fixing for text messaging services.

For those financial analyst type folks:

T-Mobile called Mr. Kohl’s attention to the fact that its “average revenue per text message, which takes into account the revenue for all text messages, has declined by more than 50 percent since 2005.”

This statement seems like good news for customers. But consider what is left out: In the past three years, the volume of text messaging in the United States has grown tenfold, according to CTIA — the Wireless Association, a trade group based in Washington. If T-Mobile enjoyed growth that was typical, its text messaging revenue grew fivefold, even with the steep drop in per-message revenue.

For those slightly more technically inclined people:

text messages are not just tiny; they are also free riders, tucked into what’s called a control channel, space reserved for operation of the wireless network.

That’s why a message is so limited in length: it must not exceed the length of the message used for internal communication between tower and handset to set up a call. The channel uses space whether or not a text message is inserted.

And a quote for people who like buffets:

Once one understands that a text message travels wirelessly as a stowaway within a control channel, one sees the carriers’ pricing plans in an entirely new light. The most profitable plan for the carriers will be the one that collects the most revenue from the customer: unlimited messaging, for which AT&T and Sprint charge $20 a month and T-Mobile, $15.

Customers with unlimited plans, like diners bringing a healthy appetite to an all-you-can-eat cafeteria, might think they’re getting the best out of the arrangement. But the carriers, unlike the cafeteria owners, can provide unlimited quantities of “food” at virtually no cost to themselves — so long as it is served in bite-sized portions.

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Posted on February 9, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.

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