AT&T has just “streamlined” its messaging plans all over again, leaving unlimited mostly untouched for both individual users and those on family plans. The carrier claims that most people prefer to be on unlimited plans, anyway, so this might affect a smaller percentage of people. Perhaps it’s true: nearly everyone I know is on an unlimited plan because you just never know when you might hit 501 messages and wishing that you’d had a higher rate plan to avoid overage charges.
So, what are your options now? Unlimited or pay-per-message. It’s pretty great, right? It is definitely streamlined, if nothing else, but where does that leave those who send maybe 200-300 messages a month? SOL, that’s where they’re left.
For those of you who have older text messaging plans, you’ll be grandfathered in, so no worries. Everyone else will have to pay an astronomical $0.20 per message. Think about that–if you send 250 messages at that rate, you’ll be spending $50 just for messaging alone! Basically, if you’re going to be sending at least 100 messages per month, you might as well go unlimited. This is just AT&T’s way of forcing everyone to pay way more than they’re willing to because who sends fewer than 100 messages each month? Not many. And who sends anywhere between 500-1000 messages a month? Plenty of folks.
Here is AT&T’s statement to Engadget:
“We regularly evaluate our offers and are making some adjustments to our messaging lineup.
Starting August 21, we’re streamlining our text messaging plans for new customers and will offer an unlimited plan for individuals for $20 per month and an unlimited plan for families of up to five lines for $30 per month. The vast majority of our messaging customers prefer unlimited plans and with text messaging growth stronger than ever, that number continues to climb among new customers. Existing customers don’t have to change any messaging plan they have today, even when changing handsets.”
I’m not exactly sure what AT&T means when it says that the “vast majority” of its customers prefer unlimited messaging, but whatever. SMS gouging will never end, regardless of the carrier.
On the bright side, there are plenty of apps that circumvent the need for SMS/MMS, such as Kik, WhatsApp, BBM and soon iMessage for iPhone users.