Tuesday, June 13, 2006

T-Mobile and Evil Incoming Text Charges

T-Mobile Text

OK. This is disgusting: everyone is going to charge for incoming text now. Everyone...

T-Mobile is going to start charging 5 cents per incoming text message starting in July. Picture messages, I'm guessing, will also be charged for incoming messages.

Sometime very soon to now Virgin will charge 5 cents per incoming text as well, though their outgoing text will now be 5 cents instead of 10.

But T-Mobile is still going to charge 10 cents per message to send. And they don't do shortcodes.

Tracfone is now charging 0.3 units per incoming text on their new GSM phones.

OK. So why is everyone that's a prepaid geek\freak railing against "evil" incoming text fees?

Because of the technology. A SMS message is, at maximum length, 160 characters. With sender and whatever else information the real maximum size for an SMS is 200 bytes. Let's try sending that via plain jane GSM, at 9.6 steenking kilobits per second. Not counting connect time (they don't count connect time on regular calls do they?) the actual message takes 0.02 seconds to send. That's right. Two hundredths of a second. And if you have GPRS in your area, merely tripling speeds to account for a bad GPRS signal, the time taken is about 0.007 seconds.

So you can send hundreds of text messages in the same data allotment as one one-minute phone call. Heck, a MMS message at 100k, which is average to large for an MMS message, would take only 30 seconds to send over GPRS, with a bad signal!

So why are they charging as much for an SMS as they do for a voice minute...or why are they charging even 1\3 as much? And why are they charging anywhere from 5\6 of a minute to 2.5 minutes for an MMS message?

That's just outgoing messages.

Incoming text or multimedia messages usually wind up last in the cellular network queue. When there is light traffic, then the few hundredths of a second (for text) or less than a minute (for MMS) is spent to send out the messages. In other words, due to the way the network is set up, no valuable time is being used to receive text or MMS messages; it's all just to take up the slack.

So why again do we have to now pay for otherwise unused time...at a premium that would make direct dial international calls look cheap? Beats me.

Granted, the iDEN system HAS to have free incoming text since their wait times for the service are horrendous at times, and they do seem to be holding the fort in that area. But hey, everyone else actually has faster data networks than Nextel and it would actually be even less expensive for them...

My suggestion to any carrier listening: text, I supposed, should be charged for incoming since network bandwidth is being used. But text needs to be higher priority to justify the charge, and the charge should be minimal, reflecting the minimal network demands. Do I hear penny text and 10 cent MMS? 5 cents for incoming and 10 for outgoing SMS is just stupid...10\10 is even more so but we all know Verizon is a ripoff. Telcos, please take your brains back out of your bullion-filled toilets.

Sorry for the rant, but T-Mobile is going to start charging for incoming SMS.

1 comment:

jacob said...

I guess it has taken a few years since you first wrote this, but Boost Mobile (Sprint/Nextel's prepaid service) will start charging 10 cents to receive a message in June 2008. If they are going to start charging for incoming messages, they need to AT LEAST provide a way to refuse all messages, lest my enemies use up all my credits by sending message after message.