Does It Make Sense To Get A Text Message Plan?

Here’s the current text-message rate plans for the different cellphone providers. Most providers also offer unlimited text message plans: AT&T: $19.99 a month, Sprint: $20 a month, T-Mobile: $14.99 a month, Verizon: Unlimited messaging isn’t optional feature, but it is part of the America’s Choice Select Plan.

If you’re an avid text-message user, it can make sense to sign up for one, but you should make sure you’re not buying unnecessary minutes. Check your billing and use history to see whether the number of texts you send and receive would actually make it cheaper to go for a text-messaging plan, or just pay the standard rate. Before making any changes, be sure to ask whether doing so will extend your contract, so you don’t accidentally get locked in for another two years.

Green thumbs: Texting costs up [Florida Times-Union]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ChrisC1234 says:

    I’ve got Sprint, and when I was renewing my plan through their retentions department (thanks Consumerist for telling me about that), they were able to just throw in text messaging for no charge. :)

  2. zingbot says:

    I have read that table in the post three times and do not understand what it means. Guess I have to RTFA.

  3. SaveMeJeebus says:

    So… being a customer of Sprint I guess it is time for the whole materially adverse change? I felt kicked when I changed to a more current plan and got the auto-renewal with no phone subsidy.

  4. hypnotik_jello says:

    @zingbot: Laziness. How hard would have been to throw the data into a simple table tag?

  5. dethl says:

    I have a Verizon txt package only for one major reason – Unlimited In-TXT. I talk to my girlfriend a lot via txt (read: 300+ texts a month) which means I’d be paying the major moolah if I didn’t have a package. I also get 500 txts for people outside the Verizon network – and I hardly touch them but it’s always good to have em. The IN-txt’ing part pays for itself very very quickly (after 67 texts to be exact).

  6. bnet41 says:

    I find it’s so easy for text messages to get out of control that it’s better just to be safe. It’s so easy to go over, and once you do it can get really out of control if you’re not careful. I think just getting the low $5 plan on most carriers is a good idea if you do any text messaging. If you don’t do any then it’s no big deal.

  7. egyptiansushi says:

    I personally prefer my plan with Cricket– $0.00 per text message.

  8. mantari says:

    This makes me even more happy that I have Cricket Wireless. Unlimited texting, no extra fee, even with the cheapest plan.

  9. Xerloq says:

    Just do what I do’ restrict text messaging all together. You still get text updates from your carrier (minutes, balance, etc), and don’t have to worry about texts you don’t want to pay for.

    FCOL, I have a phone… call me!

    Of course if you like text messaging, don’t do this.

  10. morganlh85 says:

    I think the best deal is to find a text AND pics plan…it’s the picture messages, if you use them, that REALLY add up.

  11. AdamthePugh says:

    I agree XERLOQ – I called AT&T last month and had them shut off the Text Message feature – I use my phone for phone calls, not crummy instant messages.

  12. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    My boyfriend and I both have the $5 text plan through Cingular/AT&T. He texts internationally with his siblings (intl texts are 20 cents each). I’m not a big texter. Part of it is that I’m so slow at it that I might as well pick up the phone and make a call. However, when I do want to send him a text, I email it — the address is [area code + number] I like that method for 2 reasons: (1) I type much faster than I text; and (2) When I’m at my desk (supposed to be working), typing on the computer (vs. texting on a phone) makes me look more like I’m actually working.

  13. jhpope says:

    aren’t alot of companies adding unlimited text messaging to any network? The plans are pretty reasonable from what I remember so I think this makes the most sense.

  14. Laffy Daffy says:

    I have a 13-year-old daughter and never had a problem until this summer, when her friend got her first cell phone. We went from zero everything to 334 text messages and two ringer downloads in two weeks. I staunched the ringer downloads easily enough but caved in to the texting and went for the unlimited family plan (with T-Mobile) since the other siblings also wanted the right to text. I, a technophile who was always too cheap to spring for a lot of cool stuff, have since discovered the convenience of getting daily traffic updates and cheap gas prices texted to my phone any time I want. Way cool.

  15. Anonymous says:

    i spend $15 for unlimited text, pics, and web usage. i think that is the best value. i have sprint.

  16. mac-phisto says:

    $25/mo. —> 2000 minutes, unlimited text/pic/sms, unlimited internet, NO contract.

    at&t employee plan, FTW!

  17. Do be aware that these message plans do not include international text messaging on AT&T and T-mobile USA. I have asked both providers a number of times about this and have always gotten the same answer.

  18. TVarmy says:

    This Cricket phone company sounds interesting. Whose network do they use? Also, their $30 plan is about the same rate as what I’m getting now. Do they offer long distance on it, or is that the incentive for going up a plan? I’m in no hurry to switch; I’m with AT&T for two more years.

  19. TVarmy says:

    @INconsumer: Is that the entire plan or do you have to pay extra for voice calls?

  20. CrunchBite says:

    Don’t forget there are also plans that are between 0 and unlimited. With T-Mobile I get 400 messages for 5 dollars. I normally go through more then 5 dollars of messages but no where near 400 messages, so there’s no reason to pay for unlimited.

  21. Sam2k says:

    AT&T unlimited text messaging rate is 19.99 per month. 29.99 is the rate for up to 5 lines on a family plan.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’m with cricket… it may be *ghetto* but it’s UNLIMITED BAY-BAY YEEEAH! ^_^

  23. Frank_Trapasso says:

    dude, why hasn’t anyone mentioned SERO yet? unlimited text messaging on a $35 plan that’s available in the U.S – superawesome, and I don’t work for Sprint – I just use their ubercheap semi-secret SERO plan –

    The low price is $30 a month, but it comes to 5 more with taxes.

  24. Imhotep says:

    OMG, WTF?!!!1 What is it with texting? Why don’t people like to communicate using their mouths and voices anymore? Too much is lost in translation to make it worth any amount of pre or non-pay plan. Speak to the person, please.
    Oh, and for god’s sake: USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL!

  25. UpsetPanda says:

    @Imhotep: Let’s back up with the assumptions here. There are plenty of reasons to actually speak on the phone. You need to make dinner reservations, or order delivery by phone. You need to call customer service on a phone. But, when you’re at work and you want to discretely talk to someone or make plans, it might look bad to grab your phone and duck into an empty hallway for 5 or 10 minutes. Just put your phone on silent, wait for the little light, then text away.

    Text messaging, really, is not about having meaningful and personal conversation. It’s really about sending quick tidbits of info and doing things quickly. There is no need for “hi, how are you, how are the kids” when it comes to texting.

  26. Imhotep says:

    @MissJ: I do understand your point about discretely and efficiently sending tidbits of info, however this requires significantly more in the way of assumptions than actually hearing the human voice. I guess I’m just more resistant to technology that diminishes the quality of human interaction.

  27. maevro says:


    Um, sometimes things need to be said during times you cannot pick up the phone. If I am on the phone with a client, I am not going to pick up another phone call. Instead, I can shoot a quick text.

    Also sometimes I want to tell someone something while i am in the middle of a movie.

    I pay $29.99 for 1500 texts and unlimited internet with AT&T.

  28. thesupreme1 says:

    It all depends on what your texting needs are. I originally thought 500/m would be enough. Was dead wrong. I got through that in 1 day. I went way…way…way over. went 3000txts over. @10cents each my phone bill was at about 400$(After everything)

    I have a strobe makes it easy to text. If your wondering why, I am 15 so was texting 3-4ppl at once during class.

    I had unlimited the next month, and this time had about 8K Texts. Calling isn’t too much an option as you can’t talk to multiple people with the same amount of privacy.

  29. uricmu says:

    You know, the crazy part about all this is that text messages cost the cellphone companies a minuscule fraction of what a single minute of voice conversation would cost, and yet they offer so many unlimited call options.

  30. taka2k7 says:

    Yeah and what is it about this email thing? Why not write a letter, you can draw flowers, use scratch and sniff stickers and stuff…

    Anyway, I have prepaid AT&T that is 5 cents a text for about 2 more weeks and then it goes to 15 cents. Got to love a 200% price increase.

    I’m dropping them like yesterday’s news… as long as I can bring my number with me (really fricking easy number to remember… people ask me if it’s real)

    My wife is overseas and it costs her about 3 cents a message. She gets offers from the provider for like 200 messages for $3 all the time.

    US cell phone service sucks the big one.

  31. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    If your wondering why, I am 15 so was texting 3-4ppl at once during class.

    Dude, I don’t mean to sound like an old person, but with so much texting, when do you ever have time to study? ;-)

  32. BugMeNot2 says:

    error in the article about the Sprint rates, unlimited texting is $15 if you do it ala cart by line, not $20.

    if you have a modern family plan, every line in the plan gets unlimited texting for one monthly $20 charge.(which is pretty decent).

    sweet research, BEN POPKEN

  33. hawks66 says:

    HELIO, gets you unlimited texts, pics, data, NW minutes and 500 daytime minutes for 65 a month. i never texted before, now that its unlimited though, im a fiend. I’m a high school teacher, and texting my students about assignments or projects is great, since i cant just up and call them in the middle of class.

  34. dethl says:


    I had a SERO plan. Great deal, but Sprint is absolutely horrible in my area. There were times where my brand new phones were trying to make a phone call on Cricket’s network (and the phone was set to Sprint only!). The fact that Sprint’s signal sucks indoors also doesn’t help as I live on a college campus (read: thick walls). I eventually just went to Verizon so I could have a usable signal and not be roaming all the time.

  35. Frank_Trapasso says:

    @dethl: Yeah, it’s all about signal strength. I’m lucky to live in the DC Metro area where effing everyone uses mobile broadband so the network is overbuilt – in fact WiMax is debuting here and one other place way before its nationwide rollout.