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AT&T cuts $10 text messaging plan, forcing users to buy $20 unlimited plan


It’s happening again. Mobile phone bills are going up. AT&T has confirmed to Engadget, that a leaked document outlining the elimination of AT&T’s $10 “Messaging 1000” texting plan, is true. The wireless carrier is eliminating the $10 plan and will force all new subscribers into a $20 “Messaging Unlimited” plan. The Messaging 1000 plan is still available on the AT&T site at this time, but will be removed on August 21. Those who currently use the $10 Messaging 1000 plan will not be forced to change their plan at this time.

“We regularly evaluate our offers and are making some adjustments to our messaging lineup,” AT&T explained. “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.”

We can think of no good reason for this hike, except to enhance profits. Though carriers routinely charge at least 20 cents per text, texting actually costs carriers next to nothing. In reality, sending a text is equivalent to sending a few bytes through the air. If carriers like AT&T wanted to be fair to customers, they would wrap this service right into their data plans, which have also been rising in priceas of late. 

This price hike takes AT&T cell phone bill prices to a new high. Those who use smartphones will continue to take a hit. Now the minimum monthly texting plan is $20, the minimum talk plan is $40, and the minimal usable data plan is $25 for 2GB (we don’t consider the 200MB for $15 plan an acceptable amount of data for anyone actually using their smartphone). Add that up and you have $85 as a base fee, plus about $5 in connection charges, meaning most new users are going to have to pay $90 per month, and up for smartphone service. If you use more than 450 anytime minutes, prepare to pay a lot more, as an unlimited talk plan is $70 per month. 

Minimum monthly AT&T smartphone costs:

  • $40 – 450 minute talk plan
  • $20 – Unlimited texting
  • $15 – 200MB data plan ($25 for 2GB, which is what we recommend)
  • $5 – connection charges (rough estimate, varies)
  • Total: $80 ($90 if you get an actual data plan)
Unfortunately, AT&T isn’t alone in its price hikes. While Verizon remains kinder on texting plans, offering a $5 for 250 texts and $10 for 500 texts plan, it is charging users more for data as of late. Since it moved to tiered data plans in July Verizon now charges $30 for 2GB of data, at minimum. Previously, it was selling “unlimited” data plans at that price. Sprint and T-Mobile currently offer the best all around prices on plans. 

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As DT's Deputy Editor, Jeff helps oversee editorial operations at Digital Trends. Previously, he ran the site's…
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