iMessage vs Family Messaging Unlimited with Mobile to Any Mobile Calling

Ever since iOS 5 was announced early this summer, a lot of folks have been anxiously awaiting iMessage with its free text messaging between iOS users. Sounded great to me too, and then, in what looked like a preemptive strike,  AT&T announced that they were eliminating every plan but the unlimited and pay-per-text plans.  I had already moved both of us to 1000-text-per-month plans for $10 each, so I wasn’t all that concerned as our plans would be grandfathered-in just like my Unlimited data. When I called in last week about my upgrade eligibility, I ended up adjusting my text messaging plan when the Rep let me know that they had changed plans in a way that might benefit us. He ended giving it to me for the price we already pay as a gesture to make up for my eligibility date.  Last night I saw a commercial for the new   “Family Messaging Unlimited withMobileto Any Mobile Calling” which is what we signed up for.  Essentially, you sign up for unlimited text messages and you get to call any mobile number for free.  I looked over my last bill and realized that between the two of us, we only used about a handful of total minutes calling land lines last month.

I changed our calling plan to one that has half as many minutes and am saving $20 a month now.

As I installed iOS, it occurred to me that I’m not as excited about the freebie iMessages now that all my texts are free.  Seems like a tricky sort of play on the part of AT&T to make sure that iPhone users don’t transition away from and cancel regular test messaging plans. I’m so sick of the crazy rates that they charge on texts that I was seriously considering turning off texting and relying on iMessage and Twitter.

They give you a good reason to keep text messaging around by requiring it to get a second feature.  I’d guess that most folks will never drop down to a cheaper voice plan, but will upgrade their message plan for the perceived additional value.  Interesting.  I’m already enjoying sending iMessages more than regular texts just knowing that they are making the carriers and their silly plans more obsolete every day.