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We Must Stop Texting!

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I've made this plea before, but now -- more than ever -- you need to stop texting.

At 160 characters, a single SMS message is the most egregiously overpriced service offered by a carrier. Twenty cents apiece under AT&T and Verizon -- 30 cents for MMS -- unlimited texts will run you $20 a month for those same providers. It's blatant highway robbery for a service that costs next to nothing, but our largest mobile providers have no qualms about squeezing us dry.

To wit: AT&T has just phased out its $10 texting plan which allowed 1,000 texts per month for new customers. All that remains is the $20 unlimited option for individual customers and $30 unlimited option for family plans.

"We regularly evaluate our offers and are making some adjustments to our messaging lineup," an AT&T spokesperson told Engadget. "The vast majority of our messaging customers prefer unlimited plans and with text messaging growth stronger than ever, that number continues to climb among new customers."

Yes, we prefer unlimited data. Data. But you've already phased that out, too, and continue to regard texting as a separate entity.

I know I'm not the only one who believes this lunacy has to stop. There are far too many free alternatives to texting to keep paying $20 a month in good conscious.

Since switching to a Google Voice number -- which includes texting, among other services, for free -- I promptly discontinued my texting plan for Verizon. Upon the imminent launch of iOS 5, iPhone users will have access to the iMessage app, which provides free text, photos, videos, and group messaging for every iOS customer. (Google is rumored to debut a similar product for Android users, too.) And most recently, Facebook debuted its Messenger app which circumvents a provider's SMS service by sending brief messages to contacts you're likely friends with already.

And, c'mon now, sending an email with your smartphone is just as easy.

We can't let these carriers milk our wallets on something that is practically obsolete in 2011.

Cancel your texting plans.

Choose an alternative.

Save your money.

Just stop texting.

(See also: Apple, Google Will Soon Cost Carriers Billions and Why Apple Fans Lash Out)

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