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September 6, 2006

Last days of free text

Well I should've known that it wouldn't last. It seems that Sprint/Nextel will begin charging its customers for the use of SMS or text messaging. Yeah, I know that some of you have already been paying for this service, and your hearts probably bleed for me.

I noticed the following on my monthly statement:

Effective Oct. 1, 2006, Sprint will charge $0.15 per message for casual domestic and international text messages sent or received. Sprint will charge $0.03/KB for casual data usage.

Per their own terms and conditions:

If we change a material term of the Agreement and that change has a material adverse effect on you, you may terminate the Agreement without an early termination fee by calling 1-888-211-4727 within 30 days afterthe invoice date of the first invoice you receive after the changes go into effect.

So, I suppose that I could opt out and terminate my contract, as they have clearly violated their own terms.

Nonetheless, it's ridiculous to charge for a service that costs the provider very little to deliver. I would imagine that the text msg servers use the existing hardware infrastructure and via Economies of Scale, the service could continue to be offered for free. It seems that it is basically greed rearing its ugly head. They probably believe that they are somehow losing out by not monetizing a popular communication medium. I also find it hard to believe that SMS would consume an inordinate amount of bandwidth.

I'm surprised that they opted to charge a per-instance fee, and not their standard $5.00/month added feature cost. Time to execute the power of the consumer.

Posted by AG at September 6, 2006 2:44 AM