AT&T Gouges the Texting Masses -- Because It Can

Last Updated Jul 2, 2008 7:47 PM EDT

Amid all the talk about AT&T's data plan fees and the cost of buying an unlocked iPhone perhaps the most notable jump is the cost of texting.

News.com's Maggie Reardon breaks it down:

Since 2005, rates to send and receive text messages on all four major carrier networks have doubled from 10 cents to 20 cents per message. This percentage of increase is on par with similar price hikes at the gas pump as crude oil prices skyrocket. In 2005, Americans paid on average about $2.27 per gallon for gas compared with more than $4 a gallon today. Last October, Sprint Nextel was the first to introduce the new price of 20 cents per text message. AT&T and Verizon Wireless soon followed with their price hikes going into effect this spring.
AT&T detailed its texting price plans with its iPhone rollout. It's $20 per unlimited text messages a month. Did texting suddenly tax the data networks to warrant a price increase? Nope. You're just being price gouged because you can't live without texting. OMG!

If you were these carriers, you'd probably do that same thing. You have a generationâ€"actually a couple of themâ€"that uses text messaging non-stop. These folks won't give up text messaging unless you up prices to $1 or something. Generating a little incremental revenue from hostage customers is good businessâ€"for the carriers. For customers, you're screwedâ€"or was that scrwd?

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and Editorial Director of ZDNet sister site TechRepublic. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.
Credit: ZDNet

  • Larry Dignan

    Larry Dignan is editor in chief of ZDNet and editorial director of CNET's TechRepublic. He has covered the technology and financial-services industries since 1995.