AT&T (and everyone else) Charges $1497 per megabyte

In the ramp-up to the new iPhone 3G release, I’ve been doing some research on plan prices.  Yes, the new plan is $10 more every month.  Duh.  3G is faster and more expensive for AT&T, so it should be more expensive for us.  I get it.</p> What I don’t get is that they have eliminated text messages from the data plan.  You used to get 200, now you get none.  Isn’t text just data?  Why is is charged differently?

–MATH ALERT–

So, taking into account the maximum text message is 160 characters, at 7 bits per character, that makes the maximum text message 140 bytes, or 1.66893005371094e-05 megabytes.  Multiply that times 200, and you get 0.003 megabytes.

AT&T charges  $5 for those 200 text messages, about $0.03 each.  Not bad, right? Wrong.  Those 200 text messages total a maximum of 3/1000 of a megabyte.  And that’s assuming you use all 160 characters.  Use less, and it’s even more per megabyte, since texts are a flat rate.  If you do the math, buy the 200 text plan, and you’re paying almost $1500 PER MEGABYTE of data.  Unfortunately, you don’t have a choice, since there’s no way to send a text other than the AT&T way (yet…)

By the way, if you send lots of single letter texts, like “K”, you’re paying $29,959 per megabyte.  Welcome to the future.