Editorial: The End of 1000 Texts and the End of Choice

AT&T recently eliminated its 1000 text package.  That gives customers the option of unlimited or nothing at all.  The change is unveiled with the standard corporate talking points.  “Our customers overwhelmingly prefer unlimited.” 

True, but customers also prefer choice.

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The Details

Beginning September 1st, AT&T eliminated the 1000 text package.  This leaves the unlimited text package as the only package available.  If you don’t want unlimited, you can pay the ala carte rate of 20 cents per message or you can block texting.

What Does this Mean for Consumers?

As AT&T said themselves, “the overwhelming majority of our customers prefer unlimited.”  So most customers that subscribe to texting are unaffected because unlimited is what they want.

For the occasional texter, there is no inexpensive option to get texting.  In the past AT&T has had plans for as little as $5 for 200 messages.  Now the occasional texter must spend a minimum of $20 a month if they want to be able to send 100 or so texts.  Of course anyone who already has one of these smaller packages is grandfathered and their service is unaffected.

This is a change designed to drive up the ARPU, (average rate per user) thought the PR would make you believe that AT&T was giving people what they want.

Will this change last?

It’s hard to say.  We’ve said in previous articles that this is going to be a year of change in the wireless industry.   If the rumors out there that the next iPhone may be available on the Sprint come to fruition, a reversal may not be unthinkable.

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