I'm hardly a mobile operator apologist, but the NY Times' Randall Stross is trying to make a pretty tiny molehill into a mountain by picking up on that old, dead story suggesting that mobile operators are somehow ripping users off with SMS text messaging pricing. As was noted when Senator Herb Kohl first tried to make an issue out of this, per message pricing is fairly meaningless, since most users of text messaging subscribe to bulk plans or even unlimited plans. Besides, if pricing really were a problem, then people wouldn't be text messaging so much. The fact that they're using it so much, suggests there really isn't that much of a problem with the pricing. Stross tries to focus on the actual "cost" to the carriers for sending a text message, which is tiny, but that, again, is rather meaningless. A year ago, Tom Lee pointed out just how silly such an argument is for text messaging. As mobile phones grow more and more sophisticated, if SMS pricing really is a problem, alternatives (such as mobile instant messaging) will grow as well, and SMS providers will need to adjust their pricing. If, however, consumers don't have a problem with the current system (and all indications are that they don't), then why is the NY Times even bothering?
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