Why do we have to pay extra for texting?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by johnbro23, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. johnbro23 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Isn't a text message just a small amount of data that is transferred using the same technology that is used when you call someone? If that's the case, then it can't possibly cost ATT $10 to transfer a few text messages every month. So shouldn't text messaging just be included in your voice plan? :confused:
  2. mavis macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Tokyo, Japan
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 3G (white): Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    It's free in Japan, but then again we get no calling allowance like you do, no free night/weekend minutes, and we pay $60/month for data rather than $30 or $35 like you do. Oh yeah, and SMS only works with subscribers using the same carrier. :rolleyes:

    IOW, every carrier has its pros and cons. Be thankful for what you have.
  3. CrzyCanuck72 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2003
    so by your logic, nothing that has been exploited to provide pure profits is valid for sale? :rolleyes:
  4. PoitNarf macrumors 65816


    May 28, 2007
    Northern NJ
    You won't find any detractors here my friend. Everyone thinks that text message fees are way more expensive than justified. Why is it so expensive? Because it's probably one of the phone companies biggest revenue streams. Until the U.S. government calls foul on this (which they've tried to do in the past), they'll get away with it.

    Here's a nice little article if you've never seen it before: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/14/txts_r_v_pricey/
  5. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    +1 ^^^ I agree with Mavis, we do have it pretty good, for a bunch of Americans..... lol :D:p:D:p:D
  6. wetrix macrumors 6502


    Dec 1, 2006
    Auckland, New Zealand
    The actual reason is that people are willing to pay that much. If texting was actually overpriced, nobody would pay for it..like video calling.
  7. joekun macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2005
    I don't pay for texting, it seems silly when I can just get an email for free or use IMs. When we get push there will really be no reason to text.
  8. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    If nobody under the age of 18 who didn't pay the bill himself or herself wasn't allowed to send text messages, they would cost 2 cents each.

    I had no idea how crack addicted teens are with those things until I went to the mall the past two weekends. I hadn't been there in a few months, and it was like a reality show. Half the kids I saw had their phones out and had to send messages to their friends. I thought my generation was bad with IMs at home, but give me a break.
  9. illegalprelude macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    Break given! Unlimited txt messages for the win! :D
  10. creon macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2009
    MSN replaced the phone!!!

    And i agree, about teenage texting crackheads.

    When I am a parent I am going to make my kids earn their phone and not until 16 yrs old...kids are losing their childhoods so damn quick.

    As George Carlin best put, " spontaneous and free is now being rigidly planned. When does a kid ever get to sit in the yard with a stick anymore?
    You know? Just sit there with a ****ing stick. Do today's kids even know what a stick is? You sit in the yard with a ****ing stick... and you dig a ****ing hole. You know? And you look at the hole, and you look at the stick... and you have a little fun. But kids don't have sticks anymore. I don't think there are any sticks left; I think they've all be recalled because of lead paint!"
  11. MikePA macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2008
    ATT charges what they do because people are willing to pay it. This isn't rocket science nor anything to be confused about. :rolleyes:
  12. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 603

    Knowlege Bomb

    Feb 14, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Which is the case with every-*******-thing in this country. Prices continue to rise, the sheep continue to shell out their hard earned dollars. It's not like we can afford to NOT consume.
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    And because, until recently, there was very little information about what it actually cost companies to provide text messages. Text messages offer an interesting glimpse into what the future of the cell service industry will look like and how they can adapt. They've been marketing themselves based on offering more and more minutes when people talk less and less, year over year, on their phones. So while they now started offering unlimited talk time plans, that doesn't actually target the needs of many customers.

    I think you could make just as good an argument that it is not the text messaging charge that has become ridiculous but the talk-time charge. Most of us on post-paid plans are paying something, typically, like $30-50 for talk time, $20-30 for data, and $5-15 for text messaging. Of the three, we probably use data the most and SMS next, or vice versa. But of the three, the SMS charge is the lowest, and we're really being overcharged for the talk time we don't use anymore.
  14. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    Yes, that is true. As long as texting remains a carrier controlled item and as long as there is high demand for the product, its going to get billed. It doesn't cost the carrier anything, but thats irrelevant. The carriers know that texting is popular and they can bill for it. You can also argue that water is free, and yet it's bottling remains a billion dollar industry.

    Exactly. The reason that texting is expensive is that there is sufficient demand to justify said plans and the carriers know it and have complete control over it. The only alternate is email and thats really only practical for smart phone users.
  15. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Things are a little tricky within the US, but there are plenty of options out there for sending texts cheaper than via your mobile operator.

    Services like FishText are exceptionally cheap. Their web interface works ok on the iPhone, but a little bird told me they have a dedicated iPhone app coming out soon. They have a mobile app already, but it's Java.

    I say the US is tricky because the CDMA networks are often difficult to reach and there are other issues relating to sender ID (allowing the text to still look like it came from your phone) and delivery reports. Fortunately things are much easier in Europe and many other parts of the world, where third party texting services are much more popular. Texting in general is more popular outside of the US, of course.

    When sending texts to international numbers it always pays to use a third party service. Otherwise you're paying a markup of thousands of percent over wholesale rates.
  16. AlecMyrddyn macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    Southern Maine
    Just to play devil's advocate...

    (Note: I think the prices charged in the US for texting are too high, but it's helpful to consider both sides.)

    If SMS messages only worked on-network, and only to phones that were on at that exact moment, with not store-and-forward, no ability to communicate with other providers, I can buy the argument that they should be free.

    However, the cell companies do have to build up an infrastructure of equipment to be able to hold SMS messages until your phone comes online, as well as cross-connect agreements with other providers to be able to send SMS to phones on other carriers. I would imagine this requires a high-availability data center be built, probably several, with redundancy, etc.

    Does it cost them $0.20 per message to build all this? Of course not. I'm sure it's a huge profit service for them - but it's not costless to provide.

    I'm not defending their gouging of us, just saying it's not like they are charging us for something that costs them nothing to provide.
  17. kicko macrumors 65816

    Aug 26, 2008

    Exactly... push might end paying for texts altogether. I could sort of understand if your on a phone with no data and you want to sent texts but to pay $30 a month for data and still have to pay for texts....c'mon now
  18. aok1975 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    Some guys in a suit decide, lets make some extra money off this. My first cell phone was a pepaid on voicestream in 2002. I paid $50 for 250 minutes, but didnt pay for text, even international text. As many as I wanted.
  19. BergerFan macrumors 68020


    Mar 6, 2008
    Mos Eisley
    With a monthly 600 minutes, 500 texts, unlimited data and Wi-Fi(at selected hotspots) for £35 GBP, it would seem that we in the UK get a pretty decent contract deal.
    There is a cheaper plan, and more expensive ones, but I think that this is the most common deal in O2's line up.
    Obviously, you pay for texts, if you exceed the plan allowance, but 500 is plenty for most.
  20. FearNo1 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    I agree the fee for texting is utter greed by phone companies. Hopefully with cell services like cricket allowing unlimited calls and text starting at $40, it will force lower prices for cell services. Competition is a beautiful thing :cool:
  21. uiop. macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2008
    Grand Rapids, MI
    In all honesty...I'd pay $50+ a month for unlimited text messaging if I had to. It's what I do the most on my iPhone.
  22. mbleopard macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2008
    Of course it costs them something to transmit and store the messages till the message is transmitted but they have to do the same thing with voicemails, they probably use the same servers and storage space.

    It doesnt cost them $0.20 a message, it wouldn't surprise me if it really cost the cell companies a tenth of that
  23. aok1975 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    American carriers are so greedy. They charge you for incomming calls. The call initiator and reciever are both paying for the same call.
  24. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I think they still charge us for incoming texts, which is kinda like the mailman coming by with junk mail and not leaving until you give him 42 cents per piece of mail that you may or may not have wanted. AWESOME!
  25. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Hardly :)

    Phone companies are all about 99.999% uptime for millions of users.

    For good reason, servers are very rarely shared. Each major application has its own set of redundant $50,000 - $100,000 UNIX servers scattered across the country. And we're talking anywhere from a dozen to several hundred servers, depending on the app and its load.

    Then there's the building costs, backup power supplies, and support staff to keep everything up 24/7.

    Messaging requires multiple centers dedicated to it. The servers must store and forward, do realtime translations of MMS payloads, email conversion, billing, authorization, inter-carrier communications and so forth.

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