So it turns out in addition to locking you into two-year contracts with spotty service, and giving you the crappiest free phones, the cell phone companies are also screwing you on text messages. It turns out it costs them near to nothing to increase the number of text messages transmitted, it's one of those things that once the infrastructure is installed everything is just escalating profit. I've had all of the Big 3 cell phone services first with Verizon (which when I first had it was called AirTouch) then on to Sprint and finally now AT&T. And they are all just as evil as the other. Verizon had the worst customer service both in store and on the phone, plus despite their claims of excellent coverage had huge drop zones in Eagle Rock and charged for roaming. So I switched to Sprint, since it had the nationwide plan and because it allowed you to call for the number of minutes left in the month. I liked Sprint except for the fact that its drop zone was in Whittier. And finally, now with AT&T I've had less complaints about the service, and more about the crappy slider phone I have which has been replaced three times. Add to that, the fact that AT&T will not upgrade me to an iPhone even though they only make about $20/month off me now and that would increase to almost $100/month with the iPhone. The funny thing was that when the iPhone 3G was about to come out and everyone was scared it was going to be a flop, their website said I could upgrade as of October 2008.
Either way cell phone companies have joined the ranks of cable/satellite television as one of the last great legal rackets around. I just wish there was more the average consumer could do about it to really stick it to them. As of now my only option is going off the grid, something I plan on doing at some point, but for now I'll just suffer through.