No matter which carrier you use, whether you're an iPhone or Android user, Apple is about to alter the landscape of most everyone's mobile phone bill. New services like iMessage and Google's upcoming competitive service is likely going to affect how mobile service providers charge us monthly...and likely not to our benefit.
Unless you've been under a rock, by now you have heard plenty about the new iPhone 4S. Alongside the much ballyhooed hardware release comes a messaging system called iMessage, promising unlimited text messages for every iOS 5 user on Wi-Fi or 3G. After reading Gizmodo's How to Use iMessage So Everyone Will Love You, we're both excited and a little scared about some of the features and responsibility tacked onto the new messaging service.
If you're an Android user you may believe the news has no bearing on you, but in fact all smart phone users should take heed! Google is no doubt cooking up a similar service to match Apple's feature. With cell service providers love making money off charging a-la-carte for data and texting, what does this all mean? Can you drop your texting plan to a lower level and save some hard-earned Benjamins? The answer is, yes, possibly, if your contacts are on same kind of operating system or you text only using Wi-Fi. In the long term however, you probably won't be saving anything.
Unlimited data plans are quickly going the way of the dinosaurs (if you're considering the iPhone 4S, Sprint is the only carrier offering unlimited data), and when providers see that they stand to lose money on texting, they will find a way to recoup your precious savings. Data and texting both use data, yet you're charged individually for each.
If past cell provider behavior is any indication, expect to see data plans that are higher in price and only offering marginally larger data per month, with text plans getting the axe. It won't happen tomorrow or even in a few months, but when texting behavior changes, cell providers will take note. Call us pessimists, but while we hope our bill will go down, we expect prices will go up.