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I just came across an interesting article on the New York Times where Randall Stross decided to investigate the actual costs a text message has for a cellular network operator. Finally someone did the research I’d been too lazy to do for a while.

As I suspected, a text/sms message is basically free. They are sent to the nearest tower over a control channel – a channel that exists in order for the phone to communicate with the network, and so stuffing that channel with a message bears very little overhead, if any. This also explains the stupid 160 character limit that texts are subject to.

So yeah, another blatant rip-off. Go ahead, send your R10 messages to 35050 now!

[Article Link: New York Times]

[Update: A slightly more in-depth technical discussion by Tom Limoncelli at EverythingSysadmin.com]

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