Verizon and other cellphone companies mark up the cost of text messages by at least 7314% when compared to their rates for data transfer services.
Verizon’s max text message size is 160 characters. At 7 bits per character, that’s 1120 bits or 140 bytes. Without a text messaging plan, those 140 bytes run you $.15 (fifteen cents), according to Verizon’s website.
Compare that to the rate for data transfer (like when you would use your cellphone as modem). That rate is $.015 (one point five cents) every 1024 bytes.
That’s $.015 per data kilobyte versus $1.09 per text message kilobyte. In other words, a markup of 7314%. Other cellphone companies charge comparable rates.
Bytes are bytes. What makes a text-message byte so much more valuable than a straightup data byte?
Verizon didn’t return our requests for comment. — BEN POPKEN