AT&T charges $1300 per megabyte

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by macduke, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    According to this article from CrunchGear, with the new iPhone 3g plan AT&T charges $1310.72 per megabyte for text messages. That is assumed that you use up the max 160 character limit. If you simply reply with a single character such as "y" or "k", you are paying $209,715 per megabyte. Even if you buy the $15 text plan, you are paying $15 for 234kb of data sent according to PC World. Pathetic. Something needs to be done about SMS price gouging. By comparison, if someone is using the 3g data plan to download the same data, and say they use only 1gb in a month (I've come close to that on edge alone), they are paying less than $0.03 per megabyte.

    So AT&T (and most other providers), why does it cost 43,000 times more to send an SMS than a packet over 3g? FORTY-THREE THOUSAND TIMES MORE. Let that sink in for a minute, and then feel free to call up AT&T to complain. And I know things have been like this for awhile, but you would think over time that texts would get cheaper, not more expensive. I mean seriously. All the carriers are high, but T-Mobile looks to be the best. AT&T has the worst first tier pricing among the big 4, which sucks, because I usually send about 250-300 texts per month.

    Sprint: 300/$5, 1000/$10, Unlimited/$20
    Verizon: 500/$10, 1500/$15, 5000/$20
    T-Mobile: 400/$5, 1000/$10, Unlimited/$15
    Alltel: 200/$5, 400/$8, 1000/$13, Unlimited/$20
    AT&T: 200/$5, 1500/$15, $20/Unlimited
  2. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    From what I've heard it's because telecomm's are trying to get people to use email more and text less because it's cheaper for them to operate. Not sure if there's any truth to it or not. Personally I don't care because I don't text anyway. I'd rather just call the person or email them.
  3. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Give it to the MAN by using TeleFlip from your iPhone. Essentially emailing a text to any phone...
  4. macduke thread starter macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    i tried the emailing texts to my girlfriend thing by sending them to but 3 out of the 4 messages had big problems and kept trying to resend for days afterwords by gmail. they eventually returned failure messages. the one she got was kinda mutilated and she texted back that it was really weird. so i'm leery of using email to text because of that. is it any better than using the official method? i figured if the official method that verizon says to use is broken than how could a 3rd party work? i guess i'll give it a try. i'd like to get the aim push thing going so she could text straight to aim and i could reply back. too bad that can't happen yet...
  5. toneloco2881 macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2005
    Simple: text usage rates are increasing and the carriers are profiting off it.

    They want to make it prohibitively expensive for anyone who does even a modicum of texting. That way they can have a guaranteed revenue source, by essentially tying persons into monthly text messaging packages; even if they use less than the allotted amount of text in the package.
  6. macduke thread starter macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    which is part of the reason that charges are being brought against them in this class action lawsuit. i'm fully aware of why they're doing it...of course for money. but unless we do something to stand up against it...they will never change. these rates are outrageous...far beyond what i thought they were...and i thought they were damn high before reading the article.
  7. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    I hate articles written by non-engineers.

    The cost difference is because SMS and data connections are two totally different delivery methods.


    SMS is part of the circuit switched (voice) realm. It's a dedicated connection, a page, like an incoming ring. Therefore it is traditionally charged as a voice call... that is, by time. After all, it is true push notification, and works no matter where you are in the world.

    That is, an SMS must be able to find your phone and "ring" it with the data. That takes a valuable amount of telephone carrier signaling bandwidth.

    Let's say you have a 450 minute voice plan for $40. That means each minute costs you about $0.08. An SMS is like an incoming call and therefore should really count as a minimum of a minute... or 8 cents. But instead, you get 200 SMS for $5... or about 2 cents each.


    Data is part of the packet switched realm. That means there is no need for a dedicated connection. Data connections come and go as needed.

    Most importantly, it's initiated by the phone. There is no need for the carrier to find you wherever you are in the world, to send a response. You sent the request, so the response goes back the same way. It's a no brainer connection, and can even go straight to the internet from a tower in some cases.

    Since it's not a dedicated connection, data is charged by amount (bytes) instead of time as voice or SMS are.

    The upshot is, you can't directly compare time charges to amount charges.
  8. pcorrado macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    That is the first time that has ever been explained to me with any sort of clarity - so how doe MMS factor into all these - a traditional SMS plus a Data connection or a SMS of longer duration? If it is the latter, the the $5 dollar messaging is quite a deal...for those who can use it.
  9. bacaramac macrumors 65816


    Dec 29, 2007
    I have no clue, but I imagine it uses the data method since you must have data enabled on your phone to use MMS whereas SMS does not require a data plan or active data connection.

    Example, my wife's phone has pay as you go data in order for here to send and receive MMS. She isn't charged for it since it is included in the Messaging plan that she has.
  10. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Furthermore, there's a bounded amount of phone signaling channel bandwidth. Enough has to be left over after SMS traffic to signal incoming call ringing, and outgoing call "dialing". They may well be raising the price, not only to make a profit, but to discourage SMS use just enough to decrease the average amount of SMS traffic so that it won't block voice call initiation without causing upstream message backups. As it gets more popular, they have to raise the price even more to hold back signaling channel saturation.

    3G data use a completely different set of radio channels that have a lot more bandwidth. So saturation limiting pricing can be lower, and saturation won't block 911 calls.
  11. joekun macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2005
    Rather than raising prices on a popular feature to cut back on usage of it why not just come up with a more cost-effective way of doing it? I don't buy this argument of raising prices to cut back on texting, if that were the case then they wouldn't offer unlimited plans at all.

    If you guys are right and this is a problem for them then why not just set up an email like system with push mail for all future phones? It doesn't matter what type of connection is used to the end user, just that the messages come through quickly. If that isn't feasible then I'm sure there are countless other ways of sending text through their systems.
  12. Shurran macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2008
    Somerset, UK
    But in order to fully ensure that this push mail system is used they would have to not offer text messages on that phone. (If they didnt, people would just use sms as its something they know) Then how would I send a message to someone with the old style phone. This is the problem with some technologies - we need a new system, but its going to be so increadibly hard to switch over because of leaving people behind.
  13. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
  14. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA

    On the other hand, SMS is clearly very popular, and AFAIK SMS has been a larger growth area than either voice usage or data services in the past several years. So it behooves carriers to find a way to economize using SMS. The American carriers at least seem to be doing essentially what they did with voice data -- pushing users away from à la carte usage and into plans.

    I think complaining about the fact that the plans are separate from data services because you see SMS as a data service is kind of irrelevant. From the technological perspective, there's enough difference in them today that there's no reason why you should expect them to be automatically bundled / the same or why data services should mean unlimited free texting.

    But I do hope with all the advertising of SMS plans, the SMS bundles will get larger and larger over time, till the point where most of us have more SMS than we need, much as we have more voice minutes than we need, now.
  15. TheFam macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2008
    OMG......stop being cheap. just get unlimited messaging and stop complaining about minuscule things
  16. Diode macrumors 68020


    Apr 15, 2004
    Washington DC
    If you have a SMS package that does not include MMS messages you will get charged data rates for the MMS part and will get charged a SMS message.
  17. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    I hate to break the news to the juveniles at crunch gear and anywhere else, but all pricing in the world is not based on cost alone.
  18. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    SMS also means that the carriers must maintain store-and-forward centers, so messages can be kept until such time as it can be sent to the target phone. And so, if desired, a receipt notice can be sent back to the sender.

    In addition, texts can be sent and received while you're talking (if the phone supports it) because they're just like getting a call-waiting ring during a voice call.

    A big advantage of SMS, besides not requiring a data plan or phone internet abilities, is that it's very battery efficient.

    Your phone is constantly turning its receiver off and on during idle mode, checking once in a while for incoming pages (calls or texts). This conserves the battery. Since a text would come in during these normal periods, it costs no extra in power.

    For regular email, your phone is fully waking up and transmitting an email inquiry or sending other IP traffic to indicate it is alive. And that costs a lot more power.

    As much as carriers love texting income, they also hate the potential problems. For example, it's well known that an SMS attack can cripple the ability to send regular calls. This happens a lot to carriers on New Year's Eve, with everyone texting greetings to each other.

    As others have already indicated, MMS is an SMS page followed by the phone using the data plan to retrieve the multimedia part(s).

    Note: there are ways around using a data plan. Some phones/carriers support Enhanced messaging, where small photos/sounds are sent via multiple SMS parts. This is similar to when you send a large text, and it's automatically broken into multiple SMS pieces.

    MMS is another ball of wax for carriers, since now you have to add center servers that translate incoming media for your particular phone. If you send an email with a picture to someone's MMS portal, it will look up your currently registered phone model and try to convert the graphics for it.
  19. saxamoophone macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    Do something?

    How about this.....



    Seriously though...yes the price is awfully high. But if you don't like the price, don't buy it. It's that simple. If enough people feel the same way as you do, they will lower the prices. You don't *need* text messaging to live. Until the last 10 years we seemed to manage just fine without them. Heck, we did fine without cell phones until this last decade.

    People need to stop crying over things like this...

    "wahhh... I got a $600 AT&T Tilt last week and now they won't give me an iphone for $199...."

    "wahhh... at&t won't unlock the iPhone for 599/'s like they have some exclusive deal with apple for it!!!"

    "wahhh... the iPhone uses the standard at&t voice and data plan DARE THEY...let's sue!"

    Sorry for ranting, but I'm just tired of people bitching so much. It's this simple: If you don't like it. Don't buy it.

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