Irish News of the World
Text Message Confusion
Do you know how many text messages you send each month? How much is your texting habit costing you?
In 2008, ComReg said that Irish people sent almost 25m text messages every day – that’s up from 9m in 2004. That’s over 9bn text messages sent in one year.
Across the 5 mobile phone companies operating in Ireland at the moment (Vodafone, O2, Meteor, Three and Tesco) there are almost 30 different ways you can be charged for sending a text. If I didn’t know better, I might think that these companies are purposely trying to confuse us.
Most of these companies will provide packages that will either charge you per text, or depending on how much you spend per month, will provide you with “inclusive texts”. These inclusive texts are mainly available on monthly post pay contracts, varying from 30 with Meteor to 2850 on certain Three contracts.
If you’re paying by individual text, the cheapest company at the moment is Three who charge a promotional offer of 3c per text until the end of June on their 3Pay package. The Three Pay Monthly contract will cost you from 6c to 8c per text.
All the other mobile companies will charge you from 9c on monthly contract phones to 13c on pre-paid phones to send a text message.
The craziest thing about all these text message charges is that they cost the mobile phone companies less than a fraction of a cent to carry a text message, so they’re making huge profits on each text we pay for.
There are two extra features to watch out for when checking out how much a text message might cost you.
Firstly, most mobile companies now offer free text messages if you’re sending messages between people on the same network.
Secondly, most of the companies will now also provide text bundles or add-ons where you can buy an extra allocation of text each months for up to €10 and sometimes more. These will give you an extra number of text messages each month that normally bring down the average cost – down to 4.5c to 7.5c across all the networks.
O2, Vodafone and Meteor all provide 250 to 300 free text messages to their customers on their websites. For people who work regularly on computers, or have home computers, there is a saving of up to €30 per month available here by using these free texts.
If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you can use an Apple App Store application called EirText that will allow you send text messages from your free text allocation while you’re on the move.
The application is free and if you’re connecting over the O2 network, you will have to pay the data costs. However, if you’re using a WiFi connection you have no costs at all.
Finding Out More
Given the complexity of the numerous mobile phone packages available, if you want to find the best offer available at the moment, the place to go is the ComReg website www.callcosts.ie.
As an example, if you send 300 texts per month and don’t make any phone calls at all, then the best value overall, where all your texts are “free” is to go with Tesco Mobile (assuming you top by €30 in one go).
Next best is the O2 Experience More pre-paid package where you must top up by €20 per month.
Using the www.callcosts.ie website, you can either check out the best value package if you’re thinking of changing of changing your mobile provider. You can also use it to compare your current package with others that are out there to make sure you’re getting the best value possible.
If you send an average of 10 texts per day for the month, your text costs alone could be costing you anything from €0 to €39 per month depending on the mobile company you’re with and the phone package that you’re on. If you make the switch from the highest to the lowest package, you could be saving yourself over €450 per year.