AT&T is cutting down on available text-messaging plans.
The carrier confirmed to CNET this morning that, for new customers, it will ditch its 1,000-message plan, which went for $10 per month, in favor of unlimited-only options. Unlimited messaging for individuals will be available for $20 per month starting on August 21, while a family messaging plan for $30-per-month will also be offered.
“The vast majority of our customers prefer unlimited plans,” an AT&T spokesman told CNET in a phone conversation today. “And with text messaging growing, the number of people interested in these plans will keep growing.”
Users who don’t want to get into a plan can opt to pay 20 cents per SMS, or 30 cents per message when sending pictures or video.
Current customers who subscribe to AT&T’s 1,000-message plan will continue to pay $10 per month for the option. AT&T’s spokesman confirmed that current customers with the 1,000-messages plan can keep it, even if they enter into a new two-year agreement and buy a new handset.
Engadget was first to report the news.
AT&T’s new messaging plans come even as customers’ reliance upon SMS might soon wane. At its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple announced that iOS 5 will come with a new messaging platform, called iMessage. With that, users of iOS-based devices will be able to send free text messages to each other over both Wi-Fi and 3G. The service also supports photos, videos, locations, and contacts.
That could be troublesome for AT&T, since the company activates millions of iPhones every quarter. Although text messages to non iOS-based devices will still be charged, if customers start to opt for iMessage over traditional text messaging, the carrier might see SMS usage decline.
If a decline does occur, it wouldn’t be anything new for AT&T. Earlier this year, analysts at UBS reported that text messaging volume was down 21 percent in the first quarter for AT&T. Such drops can be a drag on the company’s business, UBS reported. The analyst said that the average carrier makes an 80-cent profit on every dollar it generates in text-messaging revenue.