Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Yikes! 20 Cents per Message!

What we had hoped would not become an industry trend has indeed gone that way. Following Sprint/Nextel's increase in Text Messaging fees to 20 cents each, Verizon Wireless has decided to follow suit.

After getting kudos for introducing features that were a little more consumer-friendly, this one takes them back into the realm of "we gotta make a profit". Let's face it, this is a price increase with no corresponding increase in costs. It's a small bite, but for those of us who have no desire to wear out our thumbs sending text messaging to our buds, it's a step backward.

The majority of a la carte Text users use this form of messaging for conveniences like tracking a UPS package, flight departures or maybe stock quotes. This rate increase gives us the incentive to not explore the additional benefit of text messaging. Of course the carriers are hoping we'll now more seriously consider their text "packages", generally starting at $10 per month. No, I'm not yet getting anywhere near the 50 messages a month to make that worthwhile, and, since they raised the rates from 10 cents a minute, I don't even get weather warnings any longer.

Sadly, many customers will not notice this rate increase and continue to use Text with little care, potentially encouraging additional price increases. We can only hope that the carriers who don't raise their text rates will receive some competitive advantage, and exploit it.

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