Did you know that the price of text messaging has increased by an astonishing 100 percent over the last three years? The four major telecommunication companies, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, have all doubled their prices for text messages not included in a calling plan. For a population that sends 2.5 billion messages a day this is a significant increase. Perhaps you should think twice the next time you want to text hubby, ‘When are you coming home for dinner?’
But don’t worry. Senator Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, has come to the rescue. He is taking steps to force telecoms to keep the price of text messaging low. eFlux Media reports that the good senator has written a letter to them demanding that they justify the rate increases by reference to industry costs. The senator’s assumption, of course, is that the only acceptable justification possible for increasing the price of text messages is a concurrent increase in the cost of providing the service. Apparently businesses should not have the right anymore to determine their own prices for their own reasons. Or should they?
Of course they should. America, after all, is supposed to be a free country. Just as consumers are free to decide whether or not to buy a product, companies are free to set their own prices. The telecoms should not be coerced into justifying their rates to anyone, anymore than you should have to explain to the government how you determined the price of the things you sell on eBay or Amazon. If Senator Kohl feels that the price of text messaging is too high, he should send fewer text messages, wait for a new company to emerge, or start his own cell phone company—not self-righteously threaten the existing telecoms.