I spend $5/mo on text messaging, for 200 texts. Under AT&T’s new rules, I will have to spend $20 to send the same number of messages. Does anybody else see a problem with this?
I currently use around 150 text messages per month. That means I send about 75, and I receive about 75. If you’ve ever had a text conversation, you know those texts can add up pretty quickly, but I’m disciplined about it. I’m still on an outdated plan where I pay $5/mo for up to 200 texts, and then $0.10 each additional. I very rarely go over, and that works for me. But under AT&T’s new rules, my only option will be to pay 4 times that amount – $20 – to send and receive the same number of texts. This is because AT&T is dropping all text packages except for their unlimited plan for $20/mo. They claim it’s because the vast majority of their customers are already on the unlimited plans; but that hardly justifies forcing users like myself to overpay by such a large factor.
It’s clear the reason AT&T is making this move now is the availability of free smartphone messaging services like Facebook Messanger and the soon-to-be-released iMessage for iPhone & iPad users. If the majority of SmartPhone users switched over to 1 or a combination of these free apps, their direct text messaging through the carriers will plummet; however, while there are still non-smartphone users out there sending ‘classic’ texts, even the free-app users will still need at least a few text messages every month to correspond with them. Under AT&T’s new plan, if a user were going to go on their per-text plan, at $0.20/text, if they were to use more than 100 messages in any given month, it would be cheaper to buy the unlimited plan. This is nothing more than AT&T’s way of extorting more cash from each one of their users, while supplying absolutely no additional service.
In my case, my 150 messages will now cost me $30 under the per-text plan, so I’ll be forced to upgrade to the unlimited plan. I’m going to be overpaying $15 every month, just to protect myself in the off-chance one of my friends decides to go text-crazy on me one night. For a lot of other people, it’s going to be $5 or $10 more than they’ve been paying for 1000 or 1500 message plans. That’s anywhere from $60 to $180 more per year, per subscriber, for absolutely no additional service. Multiply that by every American with a cell phone who uses less than 1500 messages a month, and we’re talking millions of dollars straight into AT&T’s money bin.
Now, imagine if we didn’t have to pay this text tax. We would have an extra $100 or even $240 per year that we could all spend on something else. All this talk about government taxes, and how we’re already spread so thin and we can’t afford mortgages and education and healthcare; and now we’re going to be charged $60 to $180 more every year for the exact same service? It’s a tax – by private companies – on Americans, for the right to communicate over the PUBLIC wireless spectrum; but because it’s a ‘free market,’ these companies are free to price their services as they see fit. The argument is, we can always take our business elsewhere — go to Verizon, for instance. The problem is, every time Verizon or AT&T has raised their texting prices in the past several years, the other followed suit within a few months. Now that T-Mobile is being swallowed up by AT&T, and Sprint is flailing, it won’t be long before there is no other choice, other than not texting at all, or paying this exorbitant tax. This will limit our ability to effectively communicate by pricing text messaging plans too high for millions of Americans.
These companies’ vulturous practices are what is bankrupting our country: Working Americans can barely afford gas to fill up their cars or power their stoves, but Oil companies are still handing out record bonuses; Cancer patients who can’t afford their medication because the Insurance company they’ve been paying all their lives denies their claim on a technicality, and the Drug company that supplies the pills sets the per-pill price in the thousands, all so the Insurance and Drug Companies can keep raking in billion dollar profits; Families being evicted from their homes because their Mortgage lender told them they could afford it, knowing they couldn’t, because it meant a hefty bonus for him; and Wireless customers, overpaying just to be able to send text messages with their phones.
So if gas & oil prices were a little lower, and insurance payed on what they promised, on the drug that isn’t overpriced 1000x its value, and bankers only sold loans to people who could afford their mortgage, and wireless providers stopped charging customers for messages that don’t cost them a thing, if we could cut the private-company-taxes we’re all paying every day, every family would have that much more money to start putting back into the economy, to buy new clothes, and new cars, and a better home. It’s not a silver bullet for our battered economy, but it would at least be a start. It’s too bad, under a ‘free market,’ this is the best we get. I don’t know about you, but I would like the government to be a little bit bigger when it comes to regulating what these multi-billion dollar companies are allowed to do, and charge, every American. If not, we will all end up paying more for communicating, and traveling, and trying to get better, just so that extra money can go into the pockets of someone who already doesn’t need it.that
I propose we start a new Tea Party that’s against all this private-industry taxing. That demands the corporations providing us with vital necessities must be kept in check, and not allowed to overcharge American citizens for services we need to live. That puts the wellbeing of the collective American people above that of pure profits. What’s good for 1 company, but bad for millions of people, is not good for the economy. If we were to keep these companies in check, perhaps we’d have a chance to start turning the economy around without cutting even more vital government programs. It’s not even tightening belts for these companies; it’s nothing more than shedding massive amounts of unneeded fat, so that our country can survive and thrive. Is that so much to ask?