..... Texting is still hideously expensive, but if you don't need it, the service is worlds better than AT&T.
As you said, hideously expensive, for text messages sent in the otherwise unused bandwith between voice packets, essentially free for the carriers. Hence the need for investigations. You have 2 options, an overpriced monthly play, or a severly limited pay as you go plan, but nothing in between. With so many carriers, there should be a whole range of plan types to fit everybody's needs, but there's not.
Sounds like QOS to me.
Except that's where the problem lies, in choosing which protocols deserve "quality service" and which don't.
If I'm making a "voice call" through a service they offer, is that a higher priority than your "peer to peer" connection that is in fact a Skype call between yourself and a friend who lives overseas?
If I'm streaming video through their on demand video servers, does that traffic get higher priority than the free video you are streaming from Hulu.com?
If you are encrypting traffic for security reasons, does that get delayed because they fear you are using encryption to circumvent their thrott^H^H^H^H^H^H congestion management?
They want the monopoly rights of a utility provider but then want to promote quality service for their commercial offerings at the expense of traffic they deem less important, just because it doesn't bring them any additional revenue.