overly dramatic sub heading required

Friday, September 12, 2008

Charging for text messaging (SMS) is BS

Is it even worth mentioning that cell phone companies are charging more than ever for text messages! 10 or 15 cents just to receive an unsolicited message. I mean seriously how many Kilobytes is a text message? A byte or two per character depending on their encoding, but that may even be excessive considering how many characters the typical phone is actually capable of transmitting or receiving. I would guess that text messages are typically 25 Bytes or less. In ASCII mode, the size of basic text unit is one (1) byte, that's 8 bits. Here's the full ASCII character list. The maximum length of an SMS message is 160 characters, at 8 bits (or 1 byte) per character, that's a maximum of 160 Bytes in any given text message! That's practically nothing! Imagine how long broadband takes to load a page with 160 characters on it. Lets look at the Megabytes, a relatively small unit of digital measurement, which consists of 1024 Kilobytes. A Kilobyte is 1024 Bytes. A singe text message is no more than 160 Bytes, but typically much less, more like 75 Bytes. That means you can fit anywhere from 6,554 to 13,981 Text messages in a megabyte. Considering that many text messages are less than 10 characters, you can fit 104,858 text messages in a megabyte (or more). Consider the modern cost of a megabyte, which downloads in under 30 seconds on cable (in some cases much under). We could keep going on and on all day, but is simply unreasonable to be charged for text considering voice data takes up way more space. Text is practically nothing, email is free, why isn't text messaging? To think they don't have a network to support it, or that they can't afford it, is outrageous.

No comments: