Greetings Community Members! Thanks to ALL for contributing thoughts on this topic. A special thanks to TextMessageRipOff$10 for broaching this topic. I've actually taken this question many times before (and, as a consumer, I've posed it as well). I can tell you that there was a time when text messaging was free. Of course, it was being done at a very low rate by a small percentage of users so it didn't impact overall network integrity. But times have changed!
TextMessageRipOff$10, the article you posted is very informative. I compliment you on adding it to your statements. I agree with some of the data provided in the article because it's true that a text message carries very low data weight (a small fraction of a kilobyte), so one would think that something so tiny wouldn't take up significant amounts of bandwidth on a network the size of Verizon Wireless. One thing I would like to add to the article's statements is a consideration for overall volume. Pew Internet released a report this past September showing that "cell owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day—that works out to more than 3,200 texts per month—and the typical or median cell owner in this age group sends or receives 50 messages per day (or 1500 messages per month)". You can read the report here. It's powerful stuff when you realize that even a median cell owner sends/receives 1,500 text messages per month, and then cross reference that with the more than 100 million customers now supported by Verizon Wireless. I once reviewed the bill of a customer who's daughter was averaging 25,000 text messages per month.
There's also the cost of maintaining the network on which those messages are transmitted. Whether the messages are free or not, our customers rightfully expect Verizon Wireless to respond if they should encounter an issue with texting. So even though a single text message is small in comparison to other data-related activities, the cost of ensuring that those tiny communications will arrive in a timely fashion at the correct destination is not. So we set a fair price for text messaging service because (like all of our services) there is a cost to us to make them work correctly. I hope you'll agree. Thanks again!
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