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It's funny.  Laugh. Communications The Almighty Buck

80,012 Text Messages In One Month 328

webguru4god writes "According to an article on AZCentral.com, a man in New Zealand sent an average of 2,580 text messages a day for a whole month to protest his cell phone provider cancelling their unlimited text messaging plan. I recently received a faulty cell phone bill for $2000 claiming that I sent 40,000 text messages in one month, which I thought was physically impossible. But apparently this man has doubled that number and managed to get 8 hours of sleep each night for the month!"
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80,012 Text Messages In One Month

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  • hhmmm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mad_Rain ( 674268 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:00AM (#9349113) Journal
    I think they're missing the bigger story: How did this man grow two extra thumbs to key in those 80,000 messages? ;)
    • Re:hhmmm... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      i guess genetic mutation is mandatory these days to keep up with technology.
    • Re:hhmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:09AM (#9349139)
      Telecom New Zealand have also said he wasn't their biggest text sender (It's just that his was a protest).
      During the promotion people in the same room have been texting back and forth to each other about the program they've been watching, so the numbers added up. His protest was in texting the competitor service it was costing Telecom a lot more than Telecom to Telecom texts.
      • Re:hhmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

        by gusnz ( 455113 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:26AM (#9349335) Homepage
        Thanks, Mr A.C., for injecting a little local perspective! While I'm not a Telecom NZ subscriber, allow me to explain a little more...

        The two main phone networks in NZ are Vodafone and Telecom. Vodafone initially dominated the texting market, with 20c-per-text prices using its GSM network. In order to reclaim some marketshare, Telecom introduced its "$10-per-month for unlimited texting deal" last year, and advertised it nationwide.

        Here's the kicker. Telecom's network is based on CDMA, and to switch from Vodafone to Telecom you have to purchase a new phone and get a new phone number. Lots of people I know were spending hundreds of dollars a month on text charges with Vodafone, so justifying the expense of ~$300NZD for a midrange Telecom phone and switching over made sense economically.

        During this period, I don't recall Telecom mentioning any time limit on the deal whatsoever. Anyone who paid more attention than I to the extremely small print at the bottom of their TV screens can feel free to post a rebuttal, but many people received an assurance from Telecom store clerks in person that the $10 deal was guaranteed for a long time (years to decades) and correspondingly switched over to the Telecom network, expecting their initial outlay for a new phone to eventually pay for itself.

        Fast forward to 2004, and Telecom pulls the bait and switch on its subscribers, causing a lot of them to get very angry and send as many text messages as they could before the $10 deal terminated as a protest.

        I can see where Telecom is coming from, as they do pay interconnect agreements with Vodafone and have to pay approximately 8c to 14c (can't recall the exact figure) per text message that terminates on Vodafone's network, and as such the $10 deal is uneconomic in the long term. And they do still have a monthly deal, but it's capped at ~500 messages last I heard, which is less than many people require (especially when forwarding one message to several people; it adds up rapidly!). However, I still feel that Telecom's behaviour with regards to advertising their phone deal was a little unethical, and I can see exactly where the person in the article is coming from...
        • Re:hhmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

          by puddpunk ( 629383 ) <puddpunk@gmail.com> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:03AM (#9349403) Homepage
          I'm a long time Vodafone subscriber (switched _from_ telecom before their $10 text deal) and am incredibly happy with the service Vodafone provides.

          Now when Telecom announced their $10/month for unlimited text almost everyone I knew could see into the (near) future that Telecom was going to pull the old "bait and switch" with this whole deal.

          I would constantly put the sales reps that accosted me at my University on the spot by asking in a loud voice when the deal will end. They said "indefinate" while umming and ahhhing which then I would say "So, you could change it next month, right?".

          Now while this "unlimited" texting went on, people started to wonder how Telecom could afford this kind of madness, but Telecom in New Zealand controls a huge majority of Phone lines, toll calls, ADSL connections and controls one of the largest ISP's in NZ (Xtra). We knew where they were getting their money from they were subsidising their losses in the cell phone division from their other (more profitable) departments.

          So as more and more people started to poke their nose into Telecom's business, we knew their next move was coming next. $10/month for 500 texts. Now the deal is still a huge savings in money, but it's just the fact that Telecom changed the rules while the game was being played and that upset a lot of people.

          Vodafone cannot compete with those prices, so Vodafone chose to start pushing their interactive GPRS technologies such as Vodafone Live! (neat wap portal) and PXT (picture messages). Now even though I could save $50/month I simply do not trust telecom! I'm an account holder with Vodafone (not prepay) and I just will not deal with Telecom more than I have to, lest they choose to rip me off.
          • Re:hhmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @11:41AM (#9350609) Journal
            Don't most agreements with service companies include verbage like "conditions are subject to change [with|without] notice.."? In addition to often disclaiming that they aren't to blame if they don't actually provide adequate service or reliability. Agreements that are subject to change are fairly useless and all too common. But, we accept them.
        • Re:hhmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

          by AtomicBomb ( 173897 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:15AM (#9349778) Homepage
          From the perspective of another New Zealander, I doubt the following statement, "Lots of people I know were spending hundreds of dollars a month on text charges with Vodafone"...

          The voice mobile service in NZ is more expensive than most developed country. Here links to the most generous [vodafone.co.nz] plan from Vodafone that is the major rival against Telecom. It is something like NZD$40 (about US$25) for 300 min of offpeak min. $1/min on peak hours... Forget about the daytime plans... They are 5 times more expansive. Since voice service is so expensive, most secondary and university students rely on text message for communication... Many of them are on prepaid as they cannot afford the monthly fee.

          Here comes to the point: many of them found $40 expensive, do they have the few hundred buck for texting? Students in general don't earn much. Some university students receive allowance from the government at a rate of $500/month. Accomodation can easily be more than that...

          IMO, the current chaos is created by the "all you can eat" mentality. I know many secondary students start sending bulk forward messages, joke etc... Before then, texting was for something more crucial like "I got stuck in the traffic", "Let's meet at xyz 7pm tonite"... It really catches Telecom off guard... We cannot exclude the possiblity that some of the texting records are broken with the aid of computers.

          Telecom is the bully in the local telco market... But, in this event, I don't blame them for cutting the $10 unlimited texting deal... It is clear since the first day that the $10 deal is a limited promotion with time limit...

          • Re:hhmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by MSZ ( 26307 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:54AM (#9350000)
            IMO, the current chaos is created by the "all you can eat" mentality.

            Which is wrong... exactly why?

            Anyone offering flat rate, unlimited-for-fixed-price (all you can eat) takes on a risk. This is obvious for anyone with basic understanding of economy. The same happened with unlimited internet access - marketing made assumptions about usage patterns that turned out wrong.

            However in this case it may be simpler, as it seems somewhat to be bait and switch thing. Honest limited time offers say they are limited.
    • Re:hhmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by OzRoy ( 602691 )
      I would like to know why he thinks this will make them bring back the deal.

      They probably think they have hit a gold mine after the bill they will send him.
      • Re:hhmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:49AM (#9349248)
        Uh - no bill. His protest was in the last month of the text deal that Telecom NZ had, so it was all their loss, not his. He still got charged the same total as the previous months.
    • Re:hhmmm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:33AM (#9349211) Homepage
      My phone has the ability to store messages... the article says he sent the same message repeatedly. It's a matter of two clicks on my phone to bring up the stored text message and send it. Rinse and repeat.
    • Land lines are so much easier, you have unlimited calls to all your friends in your area code, and you can sit and chat with them all day like it is nothing if you want, because it isn't going to cost you a dime more or less todo so. With a cellphone, you have all these funky plans, unneeded features, and hidden costs. A second landline can be had for $15/mo, so you can have two numbers, one for you, and one for the kids. All for about $35/mo, and you don't have to worry about "going over". If you have fami
      • unlimited calls to all your friends in your area code

        That may be the case over there, but over here local calls are charged per minute.

        I like cell phones because they allow me to make/take calls anywhere anytime instead of being tied to a landline. If I don't want to be disturbed I can switch on the silent mode. If someone has something important to tell me while I'm in the movies, for instance, he/she can leave a message. With the caller ID (no extra charge) I can also screen my calls. Having a cell ph

      • by Ironica ( 124657 ) <{pixel} {at} {boondock.org}> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @03:28PM (#9351911) Journal
        Land lines are so much easier,

        My landline phone only remembers the last number I dialed. My cell phone remembers the last 10, and has 200 more in the address book. (I can also store numbers on my landline phone, but I can't attach names to them, so I'd have to make a separate record of what number is which person... too much hassle.)

        So there's lots of times when it's easier for me to pick up my cell phone to make a call, even when I'm home.

        you have unlimited calls to all your friends in your area code,

        I live in Los Angeles. About three of my friends are in my area code. The city itself has four different area codes.

        Granted, many of those are still not toll charges, but some of them are, and I can't tell by the area code which will be. My friend in Van Nuys (818) is local, but my friend in Reseda (also 818) is a toll call.

        and you can sit and chat with them all day like it is nothing if you want, because it isn't going to cost you a dime more or less todo so.

        While with my cell phone, I can do the same to my friend in San Jose or my mom when she's out of town in Detroit or Nigeria, and have the same experience... because it's a very, very rare occurence for me to go over my monthly minutes.

        With a cellphone, you have all these funky plans, unneeded features, and hidden costs.

        My cell phone bill is the same each month, within a few cents. My landline varies more.

        I have no "unneeded features." I get a package that includes the features I want and will use. I don't want text messaging, so my package doesn't include it. I do want unlimited long distance, so my package gives me that.

        A second landline can be had for $15/mo, so you can have two numbers, one for you, and one for the kids.

        I can add a second line to my cell phone for $9.99/month. Oh, and, that $15/month doesn't include about $5/month in taxes, surcharges, and fees you'll be paying. (Same is true of the cell phone, but since many are a percentage of what you pay, it's even cheaper by comparison.)

        All for about $35/mo, and you don't have to worry about "going over". If you have family in another state, just get a calling card, or get a good long distance plan.

        Or, get a good cell phone plan for about $40/month, and pay nothing extra for long distance or "local toll" at all.

        We cancelled long distance service on our landline, because AT&T started charging us $6/month even when we didn't use it. We never use it, because it's free from our cell phones.

        So, it sounds like you're woefully underinformed about cellular service, and you're paying for your ignorance. Good on you.
    • i send them via Apple Address Book -- the cellphone is connected via Bluetooth. Much more covenient, and those 80.000 messages seem perfectly possible :-)

      i bet my friends sometime wonder how i can reply with texts with elaborate grammar seconds after they text me...
    • Re:hhmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by 222 ( 551054 ) <stormseeker@nOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:21AM (#9349328) Homepage
      Its easy, he simply built a beowulf cluster of thumbs.

    • Re:hhmmm... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, also as a new zealander i can say this.. the contract stated that it was a limited time offer, with a one month notification of cancellation clause. Anyone who feels ripped off about a deal that actually states that it can be canned at any time is an idiot. As for however many thousand messages, they were free, well, as in $10 down free, because he was still within the month that was the 'notice' period. He probably had one of those nokia phones that allows you to send messages to everyone on your dir
    • Take three things -
      1. Phone with bluetooth support
      2. Mac OSX
      3. AppleScript knowledge

      And flood the airwaves.
  • by Barbarian ( 9467 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:01AM (#9349117)
    hi2u want big penis message back plz
  • Well that is alot of text messages, but I wouldnt want to have that phone bill, even if it was a mistake.

    I think that would make me cry... alot.
  • You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ikn ( 712788 ) * <rsmith29@a l u m n i .nd.edu> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:02AM (#9349121) Homepage
    I think this entire 'unlimited' offering is silly...it seems we're seeing more and more cases of some group of customers that basically exceed whatever the company expects the realistic extreme to be, and the company simply creates a cap. An ISP might offer unlimited bandwidth, the the minute a few people start managing to pull down 20gig a day, or say, a phone company customer base starts sending 10,000 text messages a day, we start seeing things like this. We know there's a reasonable extreme to be expected in any service like this, and it'd be nice of the companies responsbile just gave a good limit (1 gig of free e-mail, anyone?) that most people won't get close to hitting, but is big enough to keep users coming in.
    • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mandalayx ( 674042 ) * on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:50AM (#9349251) Journal
      Understood, but the minute that you put a cap on your "unlimited" service, please stop calling your service "unlimited".

      Comcast, anybody?
    • Re:You know... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:50AM (#9349380) Homepage
      The issues is that they DID advertize flat rate unlimited messaging in order to grab customers, and many customers had to spend $300 and get a new phone number to make that switch.

    • Re:You know... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:03AM (#9349408)
      I think this entire 'unlimited' offering is silly..

      We're talking SMS messaging here. When you can get phones with internet access and support for msn / yahoo / aim-icq you tend to expect it's all covered in your monthly fee, because it is. Unless you would have me believe it's more costly to offer SMS messaging rather then yahoo over mobile.

      10,000 text messages a day is nothing like 20gig a day on an ISP. assuming your average message is 128 bytes this is 1.25MB a day. At 110 baud a reasonable typing speed this would be all day. At 2400 baud that's like an hour of use, at phone speeds this is squat. 20gigs a day on an ISP for your average joe cable user would be all day use. Filling up a hard drive in a matter of days is excessive, but typing speeds are not likely to max out network speeds that are measured in KB/sec.

      • Re:You know... (Score:4, Informative)

        by sjwt ( 161428 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:59AM (#9349728)
        Phone companys have to pay the other phonecomapanys for sending an SMS though there network..

        Its not like that internet backbone monopoly Ameriaca has over the rest of the world where all ISPs share there bandwidth for next to noting.

        each one of those SMSs could of cost the phonecompany 5-10cents..

        Not that im saying the company didnt deserve it,
        unlimited is after all, unlimited..
    • Re:You know... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I understand it's business, but I'm certain that because it's business they did some research and forecasting customer usage patterns. After that they decided to sell an "unlimited" package. They did their forecast, probably short sighted, and now want to back out of the deal? I don't like it.

      Some ISPs consider "unlimited" to be "within a reasonable frame" and I don't buy that either. Don't advertise what you're not planning on providing. Otherwise it's just lies. Many people seem to think that takin
    • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sfe_software ( 220870 ) * on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:57AM (#9349720) Homepage
      I think this entire 'unlimited' offering is silly...

      Agreed. If the company providing the service could truly offer "unlimited" service (can't even think of any examples, but I'm sure they exist) then it's fine. In most cases, however, "unlimited" simply doesn't fly, and you'll find (especially in the web hosting/ISP business) deep in the AUP/TOS something like "...unless you use more than x in one month...", eg, "unlimited as long as you stay within the limites".

      I can't see that text messages could possibly cost that much to process (my provider (Cingular), where I do not have text messaging as part of my plan, charges 10 cents per message). It's simple ASCII text, generally very short, and has to use far less bandwidth than a phone conversaion. Yet, a phone conversation to the very same person you're text messaging with would be a lot cheaper (or pretty much free)... I think they're charging crazy fees simply because it's a new fad, and they can...
    • Re:You know... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Apogee ( 134480 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:13AM (#9349765)
      You are completely right. "Unlimit" is always within some limits, as every company who actually pays something to a provider upstream to offer this service would be on the slippery slope to extinction , if they wouldn't care how much you use the "unlimited" service.

      Unlimited is a marketing ploy, nothing more and nothing less.

      Point in case, a DSL provider in Germany offers a no-transfer-limit DSL account. I have just read that they regularly (every month or so) identify those users who pull more than 20GB per month, and send them a polite letter, offering them 100 Euros (100-something US$), if they terminate their account at once. Moreover, they can keep the DSL router and other hardware they got for free when signing up. Basically, they're saying, we don't want you, here's some cash if you leave right away (and sign a statement that you won't re-apply for their service if you keep up your downloading habits).
  • by nordicfrost ( 118437 ) * on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:02AM (#9349124)
    ...who the hell recieved them? My cellphone can hold something like 200 SMS before rejecting (making the telco retry after a while) the messages. Also, this is up to 12801920 bytes of text, excluding control bytes...

    Little over a year ago, there was an MMS war between the telcos here in Norway and all MMS messages were free of charge. The price war continued for half a year and I save a lot on using MMS to send text instead of SMS.

  • by Turismo86 ( 753224 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:02AM (#9349125)
    so his plan was that by showing them that more messages were sent when the company charged for them , somehow this company would decide against the extra income and return to free text messages. Hmmm, well we can't all be geniuses.
  • It's possible (Score:5, Informative)

    by dncsky1530 ( 711564 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:05AM (#9349129) Homepage
    You can send tons of text messages with programs like this [smseverywhere.com]
    And with sites like CellularOneWest [cellularonewest.com] you can send up to 12 at a time.
    • Well, that isn't quite like it, as those services use no phone to deliver/receive the messsages, just a web interface.
      I really doubt he was manually sending them. There are very easy ways to send those messages with a regular Nokia and a dedicated cable for the PC. Software like Oxygen [oxygensoftware.com] would do the rest for you.
      Now, for the really professional way, get on of these babys [wavecom.com]. Basically a stripped GSM phone with great communication capabilities. You can get about 1 SMS each 2 seconds sent all right.
  • by Bill_Royle ( 639563 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:07AM (#9349132)
    Considering the cost increase he'd probably be paying for the charged messages, the costs for carpal tunnel surgery will likely outweigh any savings he would have had if his campaign had worked.
    • At a maximum rate of 20 cents a text message, Ray would have tallied a bill of more than $10,060 for his protest.

      Actually the story is inaccurate - the text caps only came into action a few days ago. The guy actually spent the last month of the "all you can text" promotion to send his 80,000 texts and therefore was only out of pocket by NZ$10.

      • At a maximum rate of 20 cents a text message, Ray would have tallied a bill of more than $10,060 for his protest.

        Hate to be the grammar Nazi here, but the story is not inaccurate -- "would have spent" is the third conditional [englishclub.com], which refers to "a condition in the past that did not happen.". So it's not saying he spent the money, it's saying that if he had NOT been on the unlimited plan, he would have spent it.
    • the costs for carpal tunnel surgery

      Paying money for surgery? What the hell kind of 3rd world nation do you live in?
  • by shirai ( 42309 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:09AM (#9349135) Homepage
    The cap doesn't seem that unreasonable as it is probably protecting other text messaging users from spam.

    According to the article, some users were sending 100,000 messages per month. This is the equivalent of 3,333 messages per day. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of legitimate uses for this many messages except for commercial dispatch (for example) but in those instances, those companies should be expected to pay. I mean, as a messaging user, I sure don't want to subsidize a dispatch company for their commercial usage of the feature.

    Perhaps the limit is a little too low but I personally don't see many people using an average of more than 33 messages per day. Note this is average and not, for example, one bad day with the server going up and down all the time.
    • I could easily use the quantity of text messages a day for personal reasons. Imagine I've got two computers connected to mobile phones, one monitoring something in a remote location another at home connected to the net. The remote machine sends five different values every minute to the net connected machine that thne publishes them on a website.

      Sure, you might say that I'm abusing the system, but hey, I signed up for unlimited text messages, so that's what I expected to get. If they didn't want it to b

      • Well thats exactly what they're doing now, defining the rules and giving people a warning before it happened. I say bravo to the phone company for being honest and up front.

        As for Rogers cable as an ISP... if you have a freaking cap then tell your users!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actualy Telecom (the offending company) gave the reasion that people were using the unlimited rate to abuse other users (flooding them with hundreds of abusive texts). Especialy to users of other cell services who didn't have the flat texting rate and couldn't respond in kind.

      Of course what with Telecom being the devil incarnate (have somehow managed to prevent the unbundling of the local loop, which means, amongst other things, they have a monopoly over DSL, the major broadband option in New Zealand) one
    • I think the real reason was economic -

      In order for people to send an SMS from the Telecom to Vodafone network (BTW, these are the ONLY two mobile networks in this country), Telecom has to pay Vodafone $0.13, per SMS.
      When you're only charging your customers $10 a month for a potentially unlimited stream of messages to another network, it only takes 77 before you break-even.
      Given the popularity of SMS in this country, I'd say that most customers who went for this deal were doing a shit-load more than that.
  • It's crazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Piranhaa ( 672441 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:09AM (#9349137)
    What i've always wondered on my plan, is why text messaging costs more than phoning. I'm on pay and talk at the moment, while phoning costs like 5 cents per minute, and texting costs 15 cents per message. It's crazy! Texting takes longer to type, you can only get like 140 CHARACTERS per message, and yet it costs 3 times more! I dont know, but texting should be like internet, you pay a certain fee per month, and you get unlimited messaging. What cost for bandwidth does a little bit of words cost???
    • What cost? Well, almost none, but in North America they can get away with it. I pay a couple dollars a month to get a bundle o fa few hundred messages. That's a better way of handling it, IMO.

    • For your information (Score:3, Informative)

      by seizer ( 16950 )
      1) Not sure where you are, but in most places it's 160 chars/msg.

      2) Almost all providers charge a "termination cost" per message entering their network (UK providers charge 3p per terminated message). Unlimited deals rely on the fact that most text messages generate a response, thus bringing that revenue back.

    • Because it's convenient and a method of communication that people are willing to pay that much for?

      If the expensive overwhelmed the convenience then you'd see people calling (only 5c a minute after all) rather than txting.
    • It's a bigger scam than that. 80K messages at 160 characters only works out to 12MB.

      If it's 40 characters on average that's only 3MB.

      How much are most telco's charging for SMS?

      Talk about profiteering.

      Compare with 9600bps voice = about 70KB/minute. 170 minutes of talk time = 12MB.
      42 minutes of talk time = 3MB.

      (OK not full duplex - but hey they don't have to transmit silent pauses - and I'm not even sure they always support full duplex voice).

      Futhermore text messages can be delayed by the telco till whe
    • I pay 80 øre (approx. 12 cent) per minute for phoning with the cell-phone, and 20 øre (approx. 3 cents) per text message. And no subscription fee.

      But it is not really the price that matters. I send an SMS if the message is not important enough to interrupt the other person for.
    • Re:It's crazy (Score:5, Informative)

      by wfberg ( 24378 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:03AM (#9349738)
      It's worse than 3 times as expensive. Three minutes of standard GSM-encoded voice traffic equals about 9600 * 60 * 3 / 8 = 216000 bytes of traffic (ignoring encoding etc, since we're looking at payload). Those 140 bytes (7 bits * 160 chars) in an SMS message are 0.065% of that amount of data. Round it up to 0.1% to allow for reliable delivery and routing overhead, that's 1000 times as expensive.
  • He was sending about 2 1/2 messages a minute for 16 hours a day! He must have been using a data cable and a program to send all those messages. I know I would have gone completely loopy sending the same message 2,500 times a day.
  • OMG (Score:3, Funny)

    by dazst ( 654906 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:13AM (#9349151)
    Did he actually thumb-type 2,580 messages every day ?
    foreach ($phonelist as $phone)
    mail($phone,"Hi, how are you?",$nullmsg);
  • by ebsf1 ( 689864 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:14AM (#9349153)
    It was on the news here. He was sending the same message to all the users in his addressbook with the send to all function of his phone. So if you have a hundred ppl listed it can add up pretty quick.
    • by fluf ( 649368 )

      yeah that was what I was thinking too...

      Okay, that's a lot of messages when looking at it, but reading the article, he sent the same message over and over again.

      On my Sony-Ericsson T68i, I can save a message as some kind of draft so I don't have to retype it, and I can send it to several people in one go (kinda like sending a carbon copy e-mail)

      Just go to: messages > SMS > Templates.

      Not to rain on his parade, because the number in itself is still impressive, but it's not like he typed 80k-odd

    • by BigAl_nz ( 39616 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:34AM (#9349483)
      It was on the news here. He was sending the same message to all the users in his addressbook with the send to all function of his phone. So if you have a hundred ppl listed it can add up pretty quick.

      It's not said in that short article, but I'm pretty sure it's the same guy that I read about a week or so ago. And he was sending the bulk of the SMS's to a spare SIM card that he had, so that he wouldn't annoy all his friends. Small mercies I suppose.

  • by tronicum ( 617382 ) * on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:15AM (#9349158)
    In Germany, text messaging (as we call it SMS = Short Message Service) was free within the eplus [eplus.de] GSM network (started 1994) was free for all users until they introduced small fee (a cheaper rate as now!).

    At that time, some phones were even only capable off recieving them (or just resetted if you sent "large" SMS with 160 chars).

    So try to calculate how much 1 MB of transfer it costs with texting. GPRS is a little bit cheaper (at least in Europe) and UMTS will cut some costs as well. Problem is that you can not send direct messages as all the data connections get private IPs within their networks (and they firewall a bit)

  • Ridiculous! (Score:5, Informative)

    by bdash ( 598142 ) <slashdot DOT org AT bdash DOT net DOT nz> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:17AM (#9349163) Homepage
    ... which he believed would be in force until 2010.

    Speaking as a New Zealander, I find it ridiculous that anyone could believe that Telecom's "$10 Text" promotion would last for several more years. When the promotion began, it was very clearly advertised that the promotion would only extend to the end of 2003. I think that Telecom's customers have been lucky that they have extended the promotion for an extra 6 months.

    To put it quite simply: Telecom New Zealand advertised it as a time-limited promotion. People who believe that it should continue indefinitely are confused, and believe that they should get something for nothing.
  • I can empathize (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spotmonk ( 781716 )
    *looks at $500 cell phone bill* and I thought my 1200 a month was bad.... although I also was pissed when they cut my unlimited to 500 a month
  • On some models of phones, you can treat it as a GSM modem and send SMS through the computer. Otherwise, you cen get a GSM modem which does the trick.

    http://www.isis.de/~s.frings/smstools_index.html [www.isis.de]
  • Price of SMS Stinks. (Score:5, Informative)

    by nighty5 ( 615965 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:27AM (#9349186)
    In Australia we pay an average of 20c to 25c per SMS message.

    Considering how little data is traversed to wager the cost, I can't see how its anywhere near reasonable.

    Our postal service will physically send a letter to anywhere in Australia for 40c - which requires much more signficant investment in resources. And yet somehow telcos feel they can charge -that- much.

    Whenever I can, I prefer to pick up the mobile to call somebody, if you stay on the phone for no longer than 30 seconds its about the same cost. And the call is calcuated per second airtime.

    What do other countries such as Asia, Europe and America pay?

    Tell us!
    • In the UK we pay 10p per text, however on some networks this seems to be creeping up to 12p per message.

      We have all number of text bundles, the first of which was O2's unlimited offering which then changed to a limited offering. These days, the text bundles mean you pay for a certain number of texts, ie 5 for 100, or pay per message sent.

      What to consider in terms of cost, at least in the UK, is the networks charge 3p to other networks to receive text messages.

      • I hardly ever use my phone for texting, indeed I actually hate it. I bought 1000 sms credits from Clickatel.com, installed their client and also wrote my own email-to-sms connector and have been happy ever since. Oh, and and that 1000 credits cost me a bit under GBP 5, so its much much cheaper as well. I would happily recommend clickatel or a similiar service for texting if you are sitting at an internet connected pc all day.
    • Considering how little data is traversed to wager the cost, I can't see how its anywhere near reasonable.
      You are right that the cost of and SMS in the network is practically zero. But there are two other factors detemining the price:
      • The initial cost of the SMS service center / gateway has to be covered. That hardware is not exactly cheap...
      • The inter-carrier settlement price. If the carriers have agreed on 15 cent when forwarding other carriers' SMS, then you cannot sell SMS for less. Sure, you can send
    • by ag0ny ( 59629 ) <javi@lavande[ ].net ['ira' in gap]> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:58AM (#9349270) Homepage
      What do other countries such as Asia, Europe and America pay?

      I'm spanish, but I'm living in Tokyo.

      I don't know about other asian countries, but at least here in Japan nobody uses SMS. Instead, we use email.

      Each phone has a default email address associated to it (usually something like @phonecompany.tld), and you can change this email address whenever you want. Many people choose really hard-to-guess addresses to avoid spam. And yes, this is "normal" email, reachable from the Internet. For example, my server monitoring scripts can notify my phone [ag0ny.com] of a problem by just doing a "cat $MESSAGE | mail @docomo.ne.jp".

      The prices depend on the company and the type of contract. In DoCoMo phones using i-mode, one packet of data is 128 bytes. Each monthly plan includes 400 free packets. After these free packets, the next 10000 packets are billed at 0.3 yen each, and each additional packet after these 10000 is billed at 0.2 yen each. (source here [nttdocomo.co.jp]).

      An email message on these phones can be up to 512 characters long, so including the overhead, the maximum you will pay for a single message will be 4.5 yen.

      At today's rate, 1 Japanese Yen = 0.009004 US Dollar.

    • by thogard ( 43403 )
      Vodaphone in Egypt does SMS for LE.50 which is about US$.08 or EU$.066 on their worst plan.

      The cost to send the messages is on the order of a thousand of a cent. The rest is all nice profit or intercarrier fees.

      If you send a lot of messages, you can buy a microcell for about US$6000 new ($1000 used) and relay them yourself. Of course someone might get a bit annoyed if you used a frequency you don't have the rights too but that migth not too expensive to buy for a small area.
  • by logic-gate ( 682098 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:27AM (#9349190)
    Telecom put the cap on text messages because in New Zealand they have to pay 8 cents interconnection fee for each text that terminates in rival network Vodafone.

    For 100,000 messages that accounts to NZ$8000 per month. The Telecom deal was $10 per month so they would lose $7990 per month for a customer that texted that much to Vodafone!!

    Telecom didn't think this out before they offered the deal, have lost shitloads of money, and are now backtracking furiously and blaming "spammers".

    • Telecom put the cap on text messages because in New Zealand they have to pay 8 cents interconnection fee for each text that terminates in rival network Vodafone.

      From the copy of the NISC (Network Interconnection Service Contract) I have:

      Subject to clauses 4.2 to 4.4, the price of the Text Message Service to be provided under this Agreement, and which the Originating Party agrees to pay, is 14.0 cents for each Chargeable Text Message.

      From the Voice NISC:

      Chargeable Call Rate: Peak - 2.9c Off Peak 0.

  • I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iswm ( 727826 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:34AM (#9349214) Homepage
    It's a PHONE, how about you just call the person instead? It seems so pointless to waste you time thumbing in silly little messages that people can barely understand instead of just punching in their phone number and saying what you need to say.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Simon Lyngshede ( 623138 ) <simon&spiceweasel,dk> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:43AM (#9349236) Homepage
      Text messages are less intrusive, people can answer them when they have the time. I don't like having people call regarding things which basicly isn't that important, seen me a text message and I can answer you when I have the time.

      I don't call people if I can avoid it, I think it's very rude to assume that they will have the time to talk to me. Emails and text messages a is something they can deal with later. For important things or situations where you need the answer right now, sure a phone call it better.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:37AM (#9349220)
    The article says 'he repeatedly sent friends a message reading: "Hi. How are you?"'

    2,580 times a day he did this. I am guessing he is now short a few friends...
  • Radiation (Score:2, Funny)

    by Agret ( 752467 )
    How did this guy manage this? Is he a mutated nerd like us who have grown extra fingers due to the radition from our constant computer use? Damn I should've never got that plastic case....
  • Um (Score:2, Funny)

    by prs ( 18535 )
    Three words: `Get a life'. Or should that be `gt a lfe'!

    (Then again he could have an amazingly active social life with that many texts!)

  • I have an app that sends about 140 messages to customers every day and it takes about 10 minutes to do that. In couple of days you could easily send that amount of text messages.
  • Practicality? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lancomandr ( 785360 ) * on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:46AM (#9349242)
    I'm trying to figure out the effectiveness of this protest. The message he sent is 16 bytes. I'm not sure how big SMS headers are but lets assume about 30 bytes. So thats 46 bytes per message. Times 80,012 = 3,680,552. I don't know exactly how much bandwidth etc is allocated for text messaging within a cellular telephone carrier, but three and a half megabytes in a month doesn't seem like much. Lets look at average traffic. The article states that he slept 8 hours per night over what appears to be a 31 day period. That would mean he is awake 16 hours per day. 2,580 messages over 16 hours is 161.25 messages per hour, 2.6875 messages per minute, or ~.045 messages per second. 46 bytes x .045 means he is only sending an average of 2.07 bytes per second. Pretty small beans. It would have been just as easy to send a 160 character message 80,012 times as it was to send his short one. Perhaps something like DoS was not his aim, but the article states that this was an "attack." I don't know too many people that need in the tens of thousands text messages per month that can't afford to pay more than $6.29/mo. Despite all this, I do believe that companies should hold true to their claims or offerings. I doubt that Mr. Ray's 2.07 bytes per second made them LOSE any money, but as seen in the article they sure could have made a shitload off of it. If a company is going to offer something like that, they should be prepared for power users taking full advantage of it.
  • by anticypher ( 48312 ) <anticypher AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:51AM (#9349253) Homepage
    3 SMS messages per minute doesn't sound like much. Assuming he didn't change the message each time, after the initial time spent writing the message, its easy to send 10 to 15 per minute to numbers in the phone's address book.

    I have clients who run SMS gateway machines, and each phone can send 30 to 50 messages per minute. Of course, this is computer controlled, and they have a chassis with 30 phones and hundreds of SIM cards to spread the charge across many "1000 free texts per month" plans.

    Back when SMS messaging was free in Europe, I wrote a crude implementation of IP over SMS. The phones were connected with serial cables to linux boxes. It took some serious tweaking of MTU, TCP timeouts, and a couple of hacked applications (sendmail and telnet) to deal with the bandwidth, latency and small packet size problems. I even managed to perform an NFS mount over SMS. But alas, once the phone companies smelled money, it was all over.

    the AC
  • Uhm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by broothal ( 186066 ) <christian@fabel.dk> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:53AM (#9349258) Homepage Journal
    I think he misunderstood the word "protest". To me it seems like he just proved the telecoms point.

    I don't feel sorry for him that he can't continue to send a text message every 20 seconds. If it was me he was sending his "hi, how are you" drivel to, my response would probably be something in the line of "Shut the f*ck up dude"
  • Messaging Abuse? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmythe@@@jwsmythe...com> on Sunday June 06, 2004 @05:59AM (#9349272) Homepage Journal

    So lets see. The provider recognizes that people are abusing the system. The guy sends thousands of pages to his friends to prove people are abusing the system, and he makes the news as being the good guy because telco's are evil??

    If someone started sending *ME* thousands of messages per month, I'd get a bit irate. I suppose his friends aren't exactly happy with a month of their phone beeping at them constantly. I get a bit pissed at just our server pages (sent to my phone), and those don't count up anywhere near thousands per month.

  • by binkzz ( 779594 )
    The company is reducing the free texts to 1,000 a month. That seems pretty reasonable to me, I don't think I've sent that many texts in my life.

    1000/30 = 33 texts a day. For personal use, is it enough? Most people I know don't come near that many.

    • Depends on where you are, I guess.
      Based on what I see on the days that I have to take the train to work, here in Tokyo I'd say 33/day is nowhere near enough. People are messaging all the time; to see a young lady do five or six messages in the 20 minutes that it takes me to get to Shinjuku is not at all uncommon.
      I on the other hand have sent about 30, at the most, in the last year.
  • I thought this was fark instead of slashdot!
  • The specs to which GSM phones are implemented list a number of AT commands to allow you to send an SMS among other things. With a bit of scripting, it should be easy to automate the sending of SMS's repeatedly, should you want to!

    Info here [cellular.co.za].

  • by Orm ( 23588 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:17AM (#9349320) Homepage
    ... of sms'es..

    1. Take your phone. Make a distribution-list which includes everyone on your phone capable to recive textmessages. (say 100 people)

    2. Write a large sms. As you might know, one sms can contain 160 chars. So when you type a sms over 160 chars, it will be seen as two sms. Write one big sms (that really count as four).

    3. Send this one to the distribution list: You have know sent 400 sms in just a few minutes.

    4. To be sure they all got it, resend it!

    5. Reply to everyone that answers, and resend again to they who don't anser!

    It might just take you three minutes to send almost 1000 smses. Good luck!
  • Big Phone Bills (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pommiekiwifruit ( 570416 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:27AM (#9349336)
    IIRC when I was at university before this whole internet thing became popular, one guy got a phone bill for $12,000 for one month. He was ringing up BBSs in the USA every day.

    He's probably still paying it off...

  • by The Ancients ( 626689 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @06:42AM (#9349366) Homepage
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,2928008a28,00. html

    Following is a link to an article in New Zealand's major daily on the company itself - may they rot in hell. Anti-competitive personified.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID =3570468

  • by JRHelgeson ( 576325 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:07AM (#9349417) Homepage Journal
    I once used this to exact revenge against my ex-wife. We were still married at the time, headed for divorce when she took off to Vegas, by car, with her boyfriend for a weekend of sport fscking, I'm sure.

    I was obviously pissed as I knew she was going somewhere, and suspected it would be with her 'boyfriend' so I paged her, but she never returned my call.

    What I did then was setup Telex (BBS Software) on my PC to dial her pager number, wait for 2 seconds, then enter my cell phone number and hang up, repeated ad infinum. It took a total of 8 seconds for each paging cycle. I knew she was leaving pager range but what did I care.

    I was sending out 450 pages per hour, starting on a Friday afternoon. I stopped paging once she returned to town that Monday. I paged her no fewer than 32,400 times that weekend. What I did was a denial of service attack on her pager where she was charged 10 cents for each page over 1000 per month.

    My satisfaction grew once I heard that she received a $3,200 pager bill for that month, which she never paid and I'm sure is still on her credit report.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 06, 2004 @12:40PM (#9351018)

      I can't imagine why your wife would rather be with another man than with you. You sound like a total dreamboat.

      Putting myself in her position, it might have been worth the $3,200 to receive absolute assurance that she was making the right decision.

      Posted anonymously, lest you decide to take revenge against me too.

  • rofl (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @07:51AM (#9349538) Journal
    I think what he was trying to proove was that it costs the phone company pretty much nothing to route a text message, which is a stupid protest because the phone company probably didnt even feel it and is laughing over the morning newspaper. On my phone it costs between about 5p and 10p which is still a rip-off, but what really pisses me off more than anything, is the priority at which sms traffic gets given, sometimes it can get lost for several hours and you have to think HOW FUCKING HARD IS IT TO ROUTE 160 BYTES?!? I swear the leaching phone companies use the internet for some of it, especially if it goes over-seas which pisses me off even more - you put something that will fit into a single packet through a free network and then charge nearly a dollar?!? yes i know they are just trying to make money, but the point is, and i think that guy is with me here, WE are the union of phone users and if we all push our weight and say to the phone companies FUCK YOU then we can get what we want and they can be are bitch slaves. Ok or they could just make it much cheaper, why do we put up with this? this has to be the most poor yet most widely used mobile service in the world and yet we take all its bullshit? 160 characters! thats all you get in this day and age!? This is their little money cow, rip the customers off and they will stand for it because no-one is organised enough to mass protest it.
  • by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @08:28AM (#9349640)

    I thimk you mispelled the word, "spam".
  • Sue sue sue sue sue! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sabNetwork ( 416076 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @09:34AM (#9349890)
    IANAL, especially not a New Zealand lawyer, but at least by US standards, this is false advertising.

    Look at the details of the plan that they advertise. [telecom.co.nz]

    Text Messaging $0.20 - But you'll pay no more than $10 a month

    There is no fine print. There is nothing to lead me to believe that I cannot send 100,000 text messages for $10.

  • by craXORjack ( 726120 ) on Sunday June 06, 2004 @12:12PM (#9350849)
    I recently received a faulty cell phone bill for $2000 claiming that I sent 40,000 text messages in one month

    When I got a cell phone recently I was asked for some very personal info such as social security number, drivers license number, date of birth. When I asked why they claimed it was so they could "find" me if I charged up a big phone bill and then refused to pay. I didn't think they needed to start a dossier on me so I asked several of these phone service providers if I could get my account capped at some low amount. I even offered to leave a deposit for this amount. They said they won't do that. I am still mystified as to why. Credit card companies will do it. They will even question charges that appear fraudulent. But a telecomm company won't?

    I ended up getting one of them to agree to remove my social security number from there computer file by zeroing it out after performing a credit check. I suspect it is still in their computer though. Does anyone know why a phone company would actually need your most personal information?

Loose bits sink chips.