If Text Messaging Is Too Expensive, Why Are More And More People Using It?
from the trumped-up-controversy dept
Earlier this week, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, Senator Herb Kohl, made a bunch of news for questioning why text message rates have become so high. He implies that because the number of national wireless carriers has shrunk from six to four thanks to mergers, that the four major carriers have too much market power. That sounds great, but is highly misleading — as evidenced by a new report that notes that the number of text messages being sent is growing rapidly. If the price were such a huge problem, wouldn’t that not be the case?
Part of the problem is that the Senator seems to only be looking at the a la carte pricing for text messaging. However, these days, most folks who use text messaging on a regular basis have signed up for some sort of bulk texting plan, that allows them to send hundreds of messages for a set price. The a la carte text message pricing is really only for those who rarely, if ever, use text messaging. Furthermore, if the mobile operators really are constraining the market and push things too far by driving the price even higher, then there are many alternatives that will quickly show up. As we’ve discussed in the past, it’s only a matter of time until other options for messaging become popular on phones, such as instant messaging clients — which can provide service for free. Once again, it seems like the gov’t is stepping in and complaining where there’s no real problem.