The price of texting

It wasn’t too long ago that the price of text messages rose in North America. First Sprint boosted the price of each message, and then Verizon. Then everyone else jumped on the bandwagon.
Now, AT&T is pushing the price up another five cents to twenty cents per message. And it’s a terrible shame.
Text messaging worldwide has been around for a pretty good long while. In fact, Asians and Europeans have been busting out the finger moves on the mobiles long before Americans caught the SMS bug. This was mainly due to the fact that SMS was actually lower cost than making phone calls so many of the younger generations chose to use it as a communication medium much like instant messaging.
In the United States, of late, text messaging has not only been a trend of the younger generations but it’s also filtering up to the Gen Ys and Gen Xers. And the cellular carriers see it as another way to nickel and dime you. Thus, the price hikes to actually push you onto an unlimited text plan. Currently, an unlimited text plan costs around ten dollars a month and individual texts are fifteen cents. This means that to make it worth your while, you have to be sending at least sixty seven texts a month to actually go with it. With the current rate hike that other carriers will also probably follow suit in, will drop that number to fifty texts per month.
Now this is making the assumption that they don’t raise the pricing of unlimited text messages. I’ll also point out some technicalities that most people do not understand about text messages. This is a one-way message. This means that since there is no receipt attached to the message, the text could or could not go through just like certain instant message protocols. Also, the messages cost the carriers very little to actually push being that it’s straight text and the wrappers and actual bandwidth is infinitely minimal compared to a voice call.
Will the American consumers see more rate hikes regarding SMS in the future? I’d say “yes” due to the attitude of nickel and diming business model that the carriers seem to employ. Will this change the way we communicate? Perhaps. This could be the beginning of a shift much like in Europe and Asia where there will be much more text messaging going on and a lot less voice traffic due to cost. If that is the case, then domestic carriers have to look out since what they do now could actually effect their profit margins in the long run.
Photo Credit: (monroviabill)