AT&T has done it again. Adding and ending their data and messaging plan options has become a pastime. This is no different. This week, Engadget reported that AT&T was planning to eliminate their $10/month text messaging plan that offers 1,000 texts. This will essentially leave new customers with two options: no texting plan (pay per text) or their $20/month unlimited text plan. Will this move iPhone users over to Apple’s soon to be released iMessage which promises realtime messaging between iDevices … for free?
An AT&T spokesperson confirmed that the change is definitely coming and much sooner than you think. In fact, it will take effect on August 21. As always, existing customers can keep their current texting plans, even when upgrading devices, but new customers after that date won’t have access to the $10/month plan.
Starting August 21, we’re streamlining our text messaging plans for new customers and will offer an unlimited plan for individuals for $20 per month and an unlimited plan for families of up to five lines for $30 per month. 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. Existing customers don’t have to change any messaging plan they have today, even when changing handsets.
In this year alone, AT&T has already given the boot to its $5/200 text and $15/1,500 texting plans. Not to mention, dropping their unlimited data plan and only offering data customers 2GB or 4GB/month. If Verizon continues to play copycat with their competition, we might also be seeing a similar move from them in the near future.
Of course iOS promises iMessage which is like BlackBerry Messenger for iDevices. Users can easily send text, pictures, and videos to their friends for free and see responses in real time. The magic of the feature is that it’s seamless. The iPhone automatically detects if you’re texting someone with an iPhone and uses iMessage. It will send the message using your data conection, and therefore save you money without you even knowing (additionally the send button will change from green to blue). We’ll see how well the feature catches on when iOS 5 is released to the public this fall. Does this mean that carrier texting plans will soon be a thing of the past?