Cingular To Boost Text Rate?

There’s word out that Cingular is changing its per text-message fee from 10 cents to 15 cents starting late January. This site says:

Effective January 21, 2007, the pay-per-use pricing for SMS and IM will increase to $0.15/msg. This will affect all postpaid and Pick Your Plan customers who do not currently subscribe to an SMS package. . . Notification will be in the December bill and in [an] SMS sent to Pick Your Plan customers.

We called Cingular media relations and no one got back to us. Since I am currently a Cingular customer I called the customer line twice and the first sales rep said “yes, the rate would increase,” and the second rep said “no there is no increase.” That’s typical of the poor service I’ve always gotten from the company.

Sprint already charges 15 cents for what it calls “casual text messaging,” which are not included in an text messaging plan, and there was a modest outcry when that happened.

Cingular, and all of the carriers, are trying to get their customers to get on text messaging plans in a blatant attempt to boost their average revenue per user. Cingular offers messaging plans for $5 (200 messages), $10, $15 and $20 (3,000 messages), and even the lowest-priced plan offers a significant jump in per-user fees. Sprint offers $5 (300 messages), $10 and $15 for “unlimited”.

While a 5 cent increase per text message doesn’t sound like all that much, its just another example of how carriers are struggling to add fees where they see fit as the margins on voice drop lower and lower. Of course, you could ask: if they can offer 200 messages for about 2.5 cents a message, then aren’t they already making a lot of money on 10 cents a message? Once again, wireless companies giving consumers the short end of the stick.