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Text Messaging Costs More Than Receiving Data From Hubble

Just as network operators like T-Mobile is announcing unlimited texting with some of its packages, here comes a rather intriguing piece of information that shows why text messaging still accounts for a non-negligible portion of their profits.

Text messaging is a 15-year old technology and does not cost that much to network operators even when Multimedia Messages are taken into consideration.

Nigel Bannister, who works at the University of Leicester, calculated that the average cost per megabyte, using an SMS as a benchmark, cost £374.49. Bannister used very conservative figures and assumed that each SMS contained the maximum number of characters allowed.

This means that Pay As You Go users from all major network operators are actually paying way more than the £374.50; texts normally cost 10p in the UK which means that applying Bannister's formula would double the per-megabyte price to a whopping £750.

In comparison, the cost of downloading 1MB of data from Space Telescope Hubble, will not exceed £9, a full 95 percent less than Bannister's calculations.

The figures were announced a while ago during a investigation programme called Dispatches aired by Channel 4 and entitled 'The Mobile Phone Rip-Off' which showed how mobile users were being fleeced, literally, by some of the biggest names in the telephony market.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.