The Unbearable Banishment: The first step is admitting you have an addiction. I hear.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The first step is admitting you have an addiction. I hear.

I just got my cell phone bill. There was a dramatic spike in the amount due this month, so I started to scour the many pages in search of the error that I was certain Verizon made. I bundle my services; two cell phones, land line, cable and internet all from one provider. So the bill has taken on biblical proportions.

I found the the gaffe and it wasn't Verizon who made it. My current text message plan allows for 500 messages per billing cycle. I sent/received 1,064 messages and was billed for the overage. I asked several friends (via text message, of course) if they noticed when I turned into a 14-year old girl.

One of my oldest friends said that I am not even close to being a teen girl. He said, in all sincerity, that last month his daughter sent 9,000 text messages and received 7,000. 16,000 text messages in a single month. And according to him, that's not even a record for her! How is that physically possible? He said that kids in their early teens now communicate almost exclusively via text messaging and that he's worried about their eroding face-to-face social skills.

Guess how much it costs providers to transmit a text message? ZERO. The amount you pay for text messaging is PURE PROFIT. Text messages are sent along what’s called a control channel—space reserved for operation of the wireless network. The channel uses space whether a text message is inserted or not. Text messages are of such an infinitesimal size that sending them is inconsequential. That’s why you’re only allowed 160 characters. How do you like them apples?

Those sobering facts are quoted from this article in the New York Times.

What Carriers Aren’t Eager to Tell You About Texting

14 Comments:

Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

I know for sure that I've sent around 1,000 texts to one person in two months. That alone makes me feel a little bit strange.

Whats worse, kids aren't just communicating by text, they communicating in text spk universally. Evr bn on lamebook.com? sme of the abbrvtns on thr r mentl.

November 4, 2009 at 11:58 AM  
OpenID daisyfae said...

the kids got me texting when they were in high school... and it became our primary comms tool for logistics. thanks for the link - enlightening...

But NONE OF US use "txt spk" abbreviations... it dumbs down the world...

decided NOT to go out with a guy when he started texting me gibberish.

November 4, 2009 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Bastard said...

Text messages? I cannae get my fingers on the keys to make a call, let alone send a text.

November 4, 2009 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

I hate to admit that I can see the appeal of the 10000 texts a month lifestyle. It's so antithetical to who I am, but I think I might enjoy it...if only for a few weeks...

November 4, 2009 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

It's infuriating, but the carriers have you forced into forking over that pure profit if you are texting much at all. My daughter (daddy stands no chance, remember) doesn't text too much right now, but at $.10/text sent or received, it adds up VERY fast, and you just have to choose one of the "plans" or pay ridiculous amounts. And the texts are often just a word. Bam, ten cents every time she presses send. Or receives a 'hi' from a friend. It's robbery - but daddy will pay, and they know that.

November 4, 2009 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger jason quinones said...

I FUCKING HATE VERIZON!!!!

'nuff said.

November 4, 2009 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Jo: That's a prime example of the butchering of the language you guys went through the trouble to create.

Daisy: The article is pretty interesting, isn't it? I'm sure I'll be texting The Daughters in a few years.

Jimmy: Count yourself one of the fortunate ones. You're not missing a thing.

Leah: It's an easy way to ping someone. I fell into it quite by accident.

Lori: They have a product that everyone things is essential. They can do whatever they like. What are we suppose to do? Tell our kids they can't have a cell phone?

Jason: Yeah, but I'll bet you have a cell phone, just the same. Who is your carrier, I wonder?

November 4, 2009 at 5:55 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Yeah, like Jimmy I've got a problem with texting. 'Club Thumbs' I think is the medical term!

I have three daughters, (two teens!). I had to ban texting while we're eating, watching TV, in fact any time where there is more than one person in the room!

I recently got a great deal with my network (when I cancelled my contract! Amazing the deals they offer when you tell them you're moving to another network!) 20 euros a month gets me free calls and texts to anyone on the same network, and I also get 100 mins and 100 texts to any other network!

Now all I need is someone to call!

:¬)

November 4, 2009 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Sid said...

Cell phone calls are way too expensive in SA and the only way I ever communicate with my friends is via text message. Oh and we call it an SMS in SA.

November 5, 2009 at 2:25 AM  
OpenID anniegirl1138 said...

Oldest daughter texts almost exclusively to the poin that middle daughter complained that it might be nice if her sister actually used her phone to call and talk to her once in a while and save her the effort of waiting for multiple part texts to arrive (Older daughter texts mini-novels).

I would communicate solely via email and Facebook updates if I lived in a universe of my own making and could impose this standard on everyone.

November 5, 2009 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger ~E said...

So is this you admitting you have an addiction?

The next step would be a support group and a 12 step program. I would go to a meeting myself but I find that being around too many 14 year old girls at once makes me want to blow my brains out.

November 6, 2009 at 1:48 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

I love it: when did I become a 14 year old girl! Laughing out loud!

November 7, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We use to talk on the phone, mine text, I wonder what your girls will use for communication. And don't tell me they won't have cell phones or the next gadget of their era I know better.
MT

November 7, 2009 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Dylan said...

Well-written post. Being on the right texting plan is certainly an essential part of a manageable wireless plan--the texts add up. To that point, I wanted to respond by adding a relevant (albeit unsolicited) piece of advice for effectively reducing your cellular expenses. We tend to think of wireless costs as fixed, but you can tinker with your plan to optimize its features to best suit your usage and often generate significant savings in the process. For instance, you now have a better picture of your texting requirements and so switching to a larger texting plan probably makes fiscal sense.

I also thought I'd mention that I work in the consumer advocacy division of the Houston-based company Validas, where we electronically audit and subsequently reduce the average cell bill by 22 percent through our website, http://www.fixmycellbill.com (and that 22 percent equates to over $450 per year for the average user).

You can find out for free if fixmycellbill.com can modify your plan to better suit your individual needs by going to the website. Check out Validas in the media, most recently on Fox News at http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/consumer/conlaw/lower_cell_phone_bills_072409 .

Good luck on retaking control over your wireless expenses.

Dylan
Consumer Advocacy, Fixmycellbill.com

November 17, 2009 at 2:45 PM  

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