Well after contacting Sprint it seems that I misunderstood their text package. I suppose it wouldn't be the first time that I've gone after a vendor for mistreatment.
As it turns out the new handling of SMS text msgs only applies to customers who do not have an existing text package. How I got a text messaging package escapes me b/c I never asked for one ;)
I imagine that Sprint looks at the age of your account and also the account behavior, then makes a judgment call to determines how to bill the account. Seems weird to me, but I'm not complaining since text msgs will forever be free for me, provided I stay with Sprint/Nextel. Actually, I would be happy to stay with Sprint as I've been a pseudo-loyal customer since 2001. Nonetheless, they decided to abandon the GSM/GPRS spectrum and solely use CDMA (like many of the North American carriers), so my existing phone is a very sophisticated paper weight in Europe and other areas overseas..
Speaking of smart phones, I will soon retire my trusty Treo600. I'll be upgrading to an unlocked Treo650 (w/all the GSM/GPRS and native Bluetooth goodness).. More later.