The chairman of a Senate panel on antitrust issues on Tuesday called on the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department to scrutinize competitiveness in the cellphone industry, pointing to a 100% increase in some text messaging charges by four companies that control most of the market.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) said that from 2006 to 2008, the price charged by the four biggest carriers for sending and receiving such messages rose from 10 cents to 20 cents.

And the increases seemed to occur in “lock step” — first from 10 cents to 15 cents and then from 15 cents to 20 cents, with each set of increases occurring within a period of months or even weeks, said Kohl, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights.

“Are these price increases the result of a lack of competition in a highly concentrated market?” Kohl asked.

As a result of consolidation in recent years, four companies — Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc. — control 90% of the cellphone market, with Verizon and AT&T accounting for 60% between them.

[…]More than 1 trillion text messages were sent in the U.S. in 2008.

Found by Brother Uncle Don

  1. jescott418 says:

    Is Congress stupid? do we really have to have these hearings and investigations just to figure out that the cell companies are just trying to make more money off customers on features they use the most of?
    But, you would have to be a idiot to pay per text message if you are a big text user. Does this even apply to anyone? Maybe Congress should figure out why I had to cancel my landline because it costs twice as much as my cell plan! Maybe Congress should stop trying to control the retail markets and let the stupid consumer decide what is worth it or not.
    Seems to me that most consumers would eventually drop texting if it became too expensive. Frankly I think Congress misses the hole problem with cell phone companies. That is all the gimmicks for free phones or reduced phone costs. Their is nothing for free as we have seen time and time again. Make it so we buy the phone and pick the plan. Make it their is no contracts! Now that would be doing something Congress!

  2. Mr. Fusion, says:

    #34, jescott,

    Maybe Congress should figure out why I had to cancel my landline because it costs twice as much as my cell plan!

    Bullshit. Please show me the land line that costs more than a cell phone.

  3. AdmFubar says:

    remember in a consumer based market, screwing your customers is always best for you and why care about your customers!? they are just loaded with cash..

  4. soundwash says:

    (after a little digging)

    why this passion to bring “justice” to the pricing of a peasly, unnecessary luxury item like texting?

    -because congress discovered the TelComm’s are making more money than they are.

    The worst part, (for congress) is, of course, the TelComm’s are doing it *Legally -and SOMEHOW, they do it without massive deficits.
    -perish the thought :p

    have a look: [links at bottom of page]

    one blogger did some math on the subject and came up with some eye-opening results.

    -SMS messaging crossed the crossed the $100 Billion mark (annual) in 2007 (!) -that’s more the entire movie industry (with virtually no overhead, relative to movie making costs) [1]
    -the cost of transferring one megabyte using SMS pricing is $1,497.97 (!)
    -should you desire to transfer a 4mb song, $5,991.88
    -cost to transfer 2560 songs: via SMS messaging: $15,339,212.80 [2]
    -no wonder congress is moaning..

    (also, it circumvents GovCorp control of information and news. (though i’m sure the CIA loves it)
    [plus, they haven’t figured out to tax this bounty into the stone age yet]


    As astounding as the above may be.. if you take the talking points after the 3:00 minute mark in the video you can almost directly transpose the argument to:

    ***The Banking Industry*** -as a whole and in relation to ATM’s. -only it’s way worse..

    SO where is the outrage and inquiry into the banking industry’s (newly consolidated) monopoly?? (and price hikes)

    They brought down (several) industries, then got their puppets in congress to fork over trillions of the peoples money so they could by up any remaining (hard) assets and banks. -at fire sale cost.

    -I’m sure your all familiar with the plethora of new fees and charges the majority of banks now charge as of 1/2009
    -no need to elaborate.

    If congress wasn’t up to their necks in complicity with the banks, of the wholesale destruction of the U.S. we might have heard something on this by now.

    Instead, we get cries over text messaging.

    Yup, we have the best Democracy money can buy.

    the saddest statement of all: We *willingly* keep voting these treasonous crooks back into office..

    [1] $100b article
    [2] Math whiz’s article -very well done.

    (Turn off your TV)

  5. spinnyd says:

    I call distraction! no one really cares about this because they haven’t slowed down texting at all. anyone who texts a lot doesn’t even bat an eye over 29.99 a month for basically a service that costs nothing to implement for the telcos. If everyone quit paying 29.99 a month then you would see the price drop like a rock. If you don’t like it, don’t use it!

  6. soundwash says:

    hey now.. where can i find the html tags that wordpress uses to make the nifty links the editors made for me above? (post #39) or does the standard “a” tag work?


  7. pcman says:

    sms messages should be very cheap because no additional equipment is required from the cellular providers in order to supply this service. Another service that should be cheap it’s the service that allow you to send sms messages to landline phones.


Bad Behavior has blocked 12930 access attempts in the last 7 days.