John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Explain Our SMS Pricing? Sure. Space Telescope Transmission Costs x 4

The bottom line is texting is at least four times more expensive than transmitting data from Hubble, and is likely to be substantially more than that.

University of Leicester space scientist Nigel Bannister

If wireless providers applied the per-byte pricing scheme they use for SMS texting to other data transmitted over their cellular networks, it would cost nearly $6,000 to download a single 4MB song. Yet the price of text messaging has doubled industrywide in the last three years.


A good question. And one that’s finally being asked by Congress. On Tuesday, Sen. Herb Kohl (D., Wis.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, sent letters to Verizon Wireless (VZ), Sprint-Nextel (S), AT&T (T), and T-Mobile (DT) asking them to justify their outrageous text messaging prices. “What is particularly alarming about this industrywide rate increase is that it does not appear to be justified by rising costs in delivering text messages,” Kohl wrote. “Text-messaging files are very small, as the size of text messages are generally limited to 160 characters per message, and therefore cost carriers very little to transmit.”

Kohl noted as well that the companies appear to have changed text-messaging rates at nearly the same time, with identical prices. A troubling coincidence, given that together they serve more than 90 percent of U.S. cellphone users. Said Kohl, “This conduct is hardly consistent with the vigorous price competition we hope to see in a competitive marketplace.”

Makes for great profit margins though …