In their latest hideously greedy and anti-consumer business practice, AT&T has decided to eliminate all but their $20 unlimited texting plan for new customers, forcing subscribers to either pay $0.20 per message or sign on.
AT&T’s previous $10 per month 1000-message texting plan and their $5 per month 200-message texting plan are both about to bite the dust for new AT&T subscribers. While AT&T claims this reflects the preferences of the “vast majority” of their customers, I, on the other hand, smell a rat.
AT&T has offered the following statement:
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.
If this works like any of AT&T’s other similar moves, such as the unlimited data they initially offered to iPhone users, they’ll work tirelessly to find ways to force users out of their grandfathered plans and onto their more expensive ones. Just because many people prefer unlimited texting plans doesn’t mean they’re feasible for everyone, and charging $0.20 per text for those they don’t screw into their unlimited plan is simply unreasonable.
AT&T has had a consistent record of bumping people off of unlimited plans for “excessive” use of their “unlimited” data, and I suspect it will be no different for this new text messaging scam that they’re running.
Yes, I said scam. And I meant it. Of all the services that mobile providers charge customers for, text messaging is by far the least justified. Text messaging costs the carrier almost nothing, and does not even make a dent in their network traffic.
Nevertheless, AT&T still seems to feel justified in charging $0.20 per message for something that really doesn’t cost them anything at all. In essence, this latest scam is merely an attempt to force customers onto their $20 per month messaging plan by charging obscene prices for messages sent individually. The consumer advocate inside of me is hurling into his plus-sized vomit bag.