Blocking SMS (Text Messages)

I got a random SPAM text message on my phone on Tuesday morning and finally had to put my foot down.

I contacted my cell provider and told them to block all SMS service to my phone and to credit my account the $0.20 they would have charged me for that incoming message.

$0.20?!! Good Lord that’s a lot of money!!

I think the apologists out there who claim that it’s that expensive because there’s all sorts of redundancy built into the system to ensure the messages get to the recipient are just blowing smoke.

First off, the bandwidth for the texting is minuscule (especially compared to voice) and is actually using part of the service that the cellular companies wouldn’t even be utilizing otherwise. It’s literally out-of-band (OOB) traffic.

Secondly, even tough there is some kind of redundancy that ensures message delivery (due to the fact that the text is actually riding within the control channels that need to be there for the cell towers to negotiate connections to cell phones anyway)… do any of the teens out there lives depend on their friends getting yet another “OMG, U R my BFF!” message?

It’s a HUGE money maker for the cell companies though, so don’t expect them to offer it for free any time soon. We’re talking about billions. After all, a text message is limited to 160 characters (that’s 160 bytes) and if 160 bytes of SMS data costs $0.20 then 1MB (1,048,576 bytes) of data would cost 131,072 cents, or $1,310.72. And that’s just for one side, but they charge both the sender and the recipient so it’s really $2,611.44 per MB transferred. (The extra kicker is that they charge you the $0.20 whether you use all 160 bytes or not)

To put that into more of a perspective, the average song in mp3 format is around 5 Megabytes. If you were to transfer just that one song to a friend using the SMS text rates, the cell company would charge you each $6,553.60 for a total of $13,107.20!!

Honestly, I don’t understand why they can legally charge for incoming messages at all, never mind these outrageous rates. That would be like having the Post Office charge the sender for the stamp and then the recipient for the same stamp when it gets there, whether the recipient asked for or wanted the mail or not.

Of course, with that kind of money rolling in, you just know that their lobbiests were able to buy congress a long time ago.


~ by ghendar on February 4, 2009.