Wireless Carriers Tell Senate: "Text Messaging Rates Have Dropped, And Your Queries Have Led To Lawsuits Against Us!"

The national wireless carriers have responded to the Senate’s request for information on why its text-messaging fees have doubled over the past three years. Their collective response: they haven’t gotten more expensive, they’ve gotten cheaper—and your public suspicion of our business practices has led to lots of class action lawsuits!

RCRWireless reprinted part of T-Mobile’s response:

“Although your letter states that carriers’ prices for text messaging appear to have increased since 2005, the opposite is true,” states Robert Dotson, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA Inc. “Since 2005, the prices that T-Mobile charges for text messages — 90% of which are purchased in texting package plans — have fallen by more than half.

AT&T came right out and (almost) blamed Senator Kohl for the spate of lawsuits:

“As you probably know, since your letter was made public, 20 class-action lawsuits have been filed around the country against AT&T and other national carriers, specifically alleging price-fixing for texting messaging services. All but one of these cases cite your inquiry as one of the bases of alleged collusion. We are therefore eager to clear up any misunderstanding,” said Timothy McKone, executive VP for federal relations at AT&T.

If fees for text messaging bundles have dropped, while fees for single-serve text messages have shot up 20 cents, then in a way both sides are right—but if that’s the case, we think the carriers are being intentionally dense about the true meaning of the Senator’s line of questioning, which (we think) is an attempt to determine whether the carriers colluded to hike individual rates enough to drive customers into more profitable bundle services.

Wireless carriers counter antitrust concerns over rising costs of texting [RCRWireless]
(Photo: Getty Images)