Senator Kohl of Wisconsin on Cell Phone Text Rates

I came across this livejournal post a couple weeks ago. In it, Brad Fitzpatrick links to a letter  (local copy) by Senator Kohl of Wisconsin saying how cell phone providers should be ashamed of how expensive text messages have gotten

…Since 2005, the cost for a consumer to send or receive a text message over each of your services has increased by 100%. Text messages were commonly priced at 10 cents per message sent or received in 2005. As of the end of the month, the rate per text message will have increased to 20 cents on all four wireless carriers…

I wrote the following comment on Brad’s blog but since he hasn’t made me a “trusted commenter”… here’s what I originally had to say on the matter: (read the comments, my stance has changed)

I went to to verify the claim that text rates have increased. Not only could I not verify it, but I found so many incredible new features, I think I might get a new phone to use them…. AT&T Navigator (turn by turn GPS directions for <$10/month), unlimited internet for $15, 200 texts for $5 (that’s 1/2 the cost of my current $0.05 alacarte texting, maybe I’ll start Twittering), live streaming video from my phone for $5/month…

What is your senator talking about?? It would seem that your senator is a panderer and/or can’t figure out how to use the AT&T website.


  1. JColeman says:

    With a great deal of effort on my part to minimize the sarcasm in my tone, here is what I found with 2 minutes of searching the AT&T site:

    which is from the messaging FAQ here:

    Also, you shouldn’t confuse the issue of messaging costs with the appearance of new features. The Senator is not questioning the cost of new features. Unless you are arguing that text messaging is being used to subsidize the development of new features, new features are irrelevant.

    I suggest you do more careful research before speaking out on the topic that no one else seems to disagree with.

  2. lee says:

    JColeman, you are correct. Thank you for that. I wasn’t able to find that link. The link you mention shows the following:

    Q. What is the pricing for Text Messaging?

    A. All AT&T customers with Text Messaging-capable phones are pre-activated to send and receive messages at $0.20 per message with no monthly charge. Or, you can save money and sign up for a Text Messaging package.

    That is rather pricey…. on new contracts alacarte texting is now $0.20 each while it’s $0.025 in a $5/month program. Yeah, they probably should be ashamed of themselves.

    The original title of this post was “Senator Kohl of Wisconsin Pandering to Cell Phone Users” but I’ve changed that seeing this new information.

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