AT&T to Offer Only Unlimited Texting Plans

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AT&T will be dropping its 1,000 a month SMS and MMS plans for subscribers starting on August 21 and will begin offering only its unlimited texting plan for users that don’t want to pay per text message.

AT&T, now with just unlimited SMS plansAT&T goes unlimited-only for texting plans

The current text message add-on plans from AT&T, until Sunday, includes a US$10 a month option with 1,000 messages, but the cell service provider says most customers choose its unlimited text plan instead.

The company said in a 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.

AT&T customers with the now doomed texting plan won’t have to give up their lower cost option. They can keep their 1,000 message a month plan, and they can transfer it when they switch to a new phone, too. New customers as of Sunday, however, will only have pay-per-message and unlimited messaging options.

[Thanks to Engadget for the heads up.]

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Looks like I’ll continue to use google voice for text messages.
This is the one thing that really pisses me off about cell phone plans in this country. They’ve been making money hand-over-fist on text messages for about a decade now. And they keep increasing the fees - both for single messages and now for the only other option.
A single message costs $.20 to send or receive. Pictures cost $.30. My wife came across an old Verizon bill of hers from around 2002. The text message charges on it were : $.02 (1/10th of today’s plan) to send, and FREE to receive. And this, of course, was before anyone (let alone most of us) was paying for a separate data plan.
It just data anyway (in fact, it has a lower priority from my experience). Shouldn’t it be included in the data plan?
I’m usually not an advocate of the government getting involved in consumer protection, but there was a hearing 2 years ago on this very subject. I think it might be time to explore this again.
Senate hearing on rising cost of text messages

Lee Dronick

It just data anyway (in fact, it has a lower priority from my experience). Shouldn?t it be included in the data plan?

Correct me if I am incorrect, but I think texts go over the voice network not the data network.

If it wasn’t for my wife I wouldn’t have a text plan. She uses it a lot communicating with her friends who don’t have smart phones with email. Also where she works has iffy 3G service so can send/receive texts when she can’t use email. I prefer email, over text and most of my non-marital texts are an occasional administrative ones from AT&T.


Correct me if I am incorrect, but I think texts go over the voice network not the data network.

You are probably right on that. But it’s still low priority. I can send a text and the person may receive it 2-3 minutes later- even after I call the person (so it isn’t because they were not on the network). That seems to indicate they’re prioritizing on Voice- which makes sense since it’s real-time. With such a low priority, why does it cost so much?

John M. Hammer

I currently on per-per-message. I never send a text message, and get only the rare spam so it costs me nothing most of the time and very little otherwise (besides preferring email over text/MMS, I have Google Voice for people who insist on texting me).

What bugs me, though, is that I can’t just disable ALL incoming texts free. AT&T forces one to pay $5/month to turn texting OFF, so you remain stuck with having to pay for the rare spam text or misdial at the pay-per-message rate or having to pay $5/month. Ridiculous; if I don’t want a service, I should be able to turn it off completely without paying for it every month.

Not to mention that text charges are just dumb anyway. They cost almost nothing for the carriers to provide. I’m completely happy with AT&T’s service and prices except for this one issue.

Lee Dronick

What bugs me, though, is that I can?t just disable ALL incoming texts free. AT&T forces one to pay $5/month to turn texting OFF

I can see a one time $5 fee to turn off the feature, but not a monthly fee. Anyway, AT&T and other providers, are in the business of making money so unless there is an organized and vocal protest they are not going to change their fees.

Speaking of AT&T service plans they recently “upgraded” my service. Now all cell to cell calls are unlimited regardless of carrier, they don’t count against my minutes. Previously it was free only between AT&T cell calls.

I am going to elaborate on that cell to cell upgrade. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to lose somehow on that upgrade offer so I went into the local AT&T Store to talk to a real person. This is the second time I went into the store in the last few months, the first was to pick up my free M-Cell/Femtocell. On both times I was treated courteously and professionally, promptly too, which I find a welcome change from the way it was in the past. I think that they are working very hard to keep customers, going into a store now is pleasant experience; Calling them is still the Hell of Automated Answering System, I hope that they soon fix that.


AT&T forces one to pay $5/month to turn texting OFF,

As far as I can tell I’m not paying anything to have texting disabled.  I called them a month / month-and-a-half ago to block text messages.  I haven’t received a text message since and my bill this month is not showing any $5 charge.

BTW, before I blocked text messages I was paying $5/mo for a 200 message plan.  Are they eliminating that one? Or maybe they eliminated that one a long time ago…

... when I look at the “manage features” section on my account under “Messaging” I see:
- Unlimited $20/mo
- 1000 $10/mo
- Text message opt-out $0.00 (current)
- Picture/Video Message opt-out $0.00 (current)

I’m on a family plan that is a few years old. I don’t know if that makes any difference.  And I have an iPhone data plan (on one line). But as far as I can tell, I’m not paying extra to opt out of text messaging.

I haven’t checked out Google Voice on the iPhone, but there are plenty of text message apps that send texts via email.  I’m currently using Textie.

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