In a report filed by Greg Bensinger of Dow Jones Newswires, AT&T has confirmed that the company will no longer offer a $10 per month text messaging plan to new AT&T customers.
Starting on Aug. 21, the least-expensive text messaging plan that AT&T offers will be the $20 per month Messaging Unlimited, under which customers will get unlimited texting. The alternate choice would be to forgo a texting plan entirely, and simply pay the twenty or thirty cents per message (depending on whether the texting service uses SMS or MMS, respectively).
According to an AT&T spokesperson quoted by Engadget, the unlimited plan is by far the favorite choice of most users.
We regularly evaluate our offers and are making some adjustments to our messaging lineup, the AT&T spokesperson said via statement. The vast majority of our messaging customers prefer unlimited plans and with text messaging growth stronger than ever, that number continues to climb among new customers.
One might point out that unlimited data plans were a favorite of many customers as well, but AT&T nevertheless phased out the unlimited data options over a year ago (and last month, began throttling speeds for the heaviest users). This would indicate that AT&T has certain concerns -- possibly including leverage for a proposed acquisition -- that may override the preference of a majority of its customers.
As with the legacy unlimited plans, current AT&T customers who are already using the $10 plan will be 'grandfathered in'.
Existing customers don't have to change any messaging plan they have today, even when changing handsets, according to the statement, although the spokesperson did not indicate whether changing an overall cell phone plan package in the future would require giving up this option.
In the past year, AT&T has also discontinued two other text messaging options, a $5 per month plan, with a limit of 200 text messages, and a $15 plan, which offered a 1,500-text limit. The $10 per month plan was the sole remaining 'limited' plan.
The Dow Jones Newswire report also made mention of comparably priced text message plans by other carriers, stating that Sprint Nextel Corp. offered a similar $10 per month plan with a maximum of 1,000 text messages each month, while customers of Verizon Wireless are offered a limit of 500 texts for the same monthly price.
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