The company that's becoming increasingly famous for regularly shooting itself in the foot when it comes to customer relations just blew off another toe. Our sister site Engadget reports that AT&T is "streamlining" its text messaging plans for new customers; when translated from PR-speak, this means new customers will have only a single, unlimited text messaging plan to choose from. The US$10 for 1000 messages plan is going away.
Existing customers on the $10 plan will have that plan grandfathered. However, new customers will only be able to choose between the $20 unlimited plan or no plan at all, in which case they'll be charged $0.20 per text ($.30 per MMS). If you find yourself sending less than 100 text messages per month, you may be just fine without dropping another $20 on your monthly bill, but if you find yourself in the 100-1000 messages per month range as I do, AT&T's move smacks of greed. Shocker.
It's quite likely that this move is at least partially a response to iMessages in iOS 5, expected to debut in the fall. The feature allows iOS device owners to bypass the SMS protocol when sending messages to other iOS devices. Since the majority of US iPhone owners are still on AT&T's network, this could have led to a measurable drop in the number of text messages sent on AT&T's network, resulting in lost revenues for its SMS packages.