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Summary:

There’s word out that Cingular is changing its per text-message fee from 10 cents to 15 cents starting late January. This site says: Effective January 21, 2007, the pay-per-use pricing for SMS and IM will increase to $0.15/msg. This will affect all postpaid and Pick Your […]

There’s word out that Cingular is changing its per text-message fee from 10 cents to 15 cents starting late January. This site says:

Effective January 21, 2007, the pay-per-use pricing for SMS and IM will increase to $0.15/msg. This will affect all postpaid and Pick Your Plan customers who do not currently subscribe to an SMS package. . . Notification will be in the December bill and in [an] SMS sent to Pick Your Plan customers.

We called Cingular media relations and no one got back to us. Since I am currently a Cingular customer I called the customer line twice and the first sales rep said “yes, the rate would increase,” and the second rep said “no there is no increase.” That’s typical of the poor service I’ve always gotten from the company.


Sprint already charges 15 cents for what it calls “casual text messaging,” which are not included in an text messaging plan, and there was a modest outcry when that happened.

Cingular, and all of the carriers, are trying to get their customers to get on text messaging plans in a blatant attempt to boost their average revenue per user. Cingular offers messaging plans for $5 (200 messages), $10, $15 and $20 (3,000 messages), and even the lowest-priced plan offers a significant jump in per-user fees. Sprint offers $5 (300 messages), $10 and $15 for “unlimited”.

While a 5 cent increase per text message doesn’t sound like all that much, its just another example of how carriers are struggling to add fees where they see fit as the margins on voice drop lower and lower. Of course, you could ask: if they can offer 200 messages for about 2.5 cents a message, then aren’t they already making a lot of money on 10 cents a message? Once again, wireless companies giving consumers the short end of the stick.

  1. Outrageous!

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  2. Frederic Guarino Friday, December 15, 2006

    Hi just got my Cingular bill and the increase to $0.15 per text msg on pay per use basis is on page 1! Their pitch follows : “by purchasing a Messageing or MEdia Bundle, you can send and receive messages for as little as a penny”. All carriers are trying to get as many subs to sign up to text messaging plans, TMO and the rest should follow suit soon enough with the $0.15 cent charge.

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  3. Verizon does unlimited for $5 dollars to everyone who uses Verizon with 500 to people outside of the network. Seems to be the way to go, IMO.

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  4. LAME! What really gets my goat about text message pricing is that it’s like 500000% profit for the carrier. It probably costs them literally .00005 cents to relay a text message from one phone to another, yet having a conversation back and forth a few messages will cost you a dollar easily. :P

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  5. Jeffrey McManus Friday, December 15, 2006

    Why does anyone with a choice use Cingular? They’re awful. I switched to Verizon years ago and I never regretted it.

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  6. At the a la carte rate (15c per message), it would cost more than $2 million to fill a 2GB iPod Nano. Or, a whopping $60 million to fill a 60GB hard drive. And that’s being extremely generous, assuming that each message is the maximum of 160 characters. If the messages were on average 8 characters, the cost would be $1.2 billion to fill the hard drive.

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  7. Well said, Rocky. Text messaging should be next to free as far as I am concerned…

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  8. Everyone is disgruntled with this, but no one has found out if you can get out of your contract without $175 ETF. If so, then come see me to activate with VZW.

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  9. Doesn’t T-Mobile treat SMS and MMS the same for messaging purposes? I could live with 15 cents each instead of 10 cents for text and 25 for pictures.

    Man, I wish Vodaphone had come in for AT&T instead of letting Cingular snap it up. Having only four carriers on two different protocols makes it bloody near impossible to move between carriers.

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  10. In Europe we seem to generally pay higher prices than the US (none of those 100s of minutes per month deals), but at least on SMS we do okay. With Vodafone (in Italy) there are usually Christmas and summer deals for free SMS and MMS and discounted phone calls. If you’re registered on the Vodafone website, you can send free SMS anytime to any other Vodafone customer, though I’ve noticed they sometimes take hours to get delivered!

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