Why Do We Pay for Texting?

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SMS, aka "Texting", aka "Text Messaging" on cell phones.  Why do we pay for this?

Europeans have been texting for years now, with an extremely lost cost.  Hell, even Singapore allows several hundred text messages a month before charging.

I went out and did a little research.  To sum up this article, I agree that the U.S. has other advantages such as free phone-to-phone calling such as these Family plans and PCS-to-PCS.  They talk about the usage of texting in several counties.  The US, very low.

In 2001, Europe got smart and started discouraging cell-to-cell calls by allowing for several hundred text messages a month, free - you didn't even have to ask for it.  You got it.

Here in the states, it's considered somewhat in-expensive with text messages ranging from $0.05 to $0.10 each.  And many providers, such as Sprint, include a certain amount for free (with the higher end packages such as Vision).  A little math will tell you that the $5.00/mo you are paying for 100 text messages comes out to $0.05/mo, you are paying, if you use them or not.

But why do we pay for these?

Let's look at this another way.  Voice calls are the cell companies Achilles Heel as such as they must have X number of free lines to carry the bandwidth of these calls, where ever they provide service.  Given voice calls are now Digital instead of the old Analog days, so the compression is much higher and clearer. 

According to the article above, text messages max out around 140 Bytes.  That's Bytes people.  The average SprintPCS digital call is 244 Kbps (if I recall from reading on the spec, my memory is old).  That's about 30 KiloBytes a second.

Compare 30 KBps vs. 140 bytes for a single text message, that 218 Text messages you can send PER SECOND to match the bandwidth (and effort) of the cell phone companies must use for their Voice lines.

218 Text messages at $0.05 each = $10.90 PER SECOND we are ALL charged to match the same bandwidth we would use with a single Voice line PER SECOND.

That math just doesn't add up.  Actually, yes it does.  To the Cell Phone companies making a butt-load of mula from us texting.

So why do we pay for 20, 50, or even 100 messages? 

Sprint just started offering 500 messages for $8 instead of $5 last month.  That's a cost of almost two pennies per message, if you send 500 text messages.

I don't see why we must pay for these.  It unloads the cell networks by not utilizing 30 KBps bandwidth, SAVING the cell companies money.

Just my two cents.  No, wait.  My $0.05 worth.  And if we were to total number of bytes from this Blog Post and charge $0.05 per 140 Bytes (160 characters), it's actually my $0.79 cents worth of information to you - for free (cable modem service).


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