AT&T Axes Lower-Cost SMS Plan

New customers can choose between unlimited or pay per text as the popularity of SMS declines

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

August 18, 2011

2 Min Read
AT&T Axes Lower-Cost SMS Plan

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is sticking with unlimited in at least one area -- SMS. The carrier confirmed Thursday it is doing away with its $10 plan for 1,000 text messages per month, giving new customers an option of unlimited texts or pay-per-text plans.

AT&T said in an email to LR Mobile that its unlimited-only options have proved to be the most popular, prompting it to ditch the lower-cost plan, a move that Engadget first leaked on Wednesday. Existing customers are grandfathered in, but starting Aug. 21 new customers will choose from $20 per month for unlimited texts, $30 per month for a family messaging plan or pay per text at $0.20 for each SMS and $0.30 per MMS.

On the pay-as-you-text plan, users will reach $20 after only 100 messages, making unlimited the most economical for even moderate texters.

Why this matters
SMS has exploded in the past, overtaking voice calls as the preferred mode of communication for many. But, consumers aren't as dependent on the carriers for SMS as they once were. There are a number of third-party chat apps that circumvent the network, and free services like BlackBerry Messenger and the soon-to-be-launched Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iMessage make the channel less important. (See Apple Borrows From Competitors for iOS 5.)

AT&T is also likely hoping to drive more revenue from SMS, which has been on the decline as IM services gain share. On average, each U.S. subscriber sent about 664 messages per month in the second quarter, but the percentage share of data revenues continues to decline for messaging, according to industry analyst Chetan Sharma. For more
Read more on SMS, including its security risks, costs and social-networking uses.

  • Top 4 Malware Threats to Android

  • Cloudmark Improves SMS Security

  • Allot Reports on Mobile Data Usage

  • Orange, Google Team for SMS in Africa

  • Clickatell Raises $12M for SMS

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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