Starting June 3, on-the-go subscribers to AT&T's wireless service will be able to text friends in any one of 140 countries covered by the company's new $9.99 per month International Long Distance Text Messaging plan. Text messaging in foreign countries, particularly in Europe and East Asia, has been much more popular than in the U.S., though the explosive growth of the technology in the U.S. has done much to diminish that gap.
The new plan's $9.99 cost includes up to 100 messages per month. While cost of the service may seem steep, it may beat the cost of making several international long distance calls, (wired or wirelessly) depending on the country called. The pay-as-you-go rate for international text messages on AT&T is currently 20¢ per message sent and 15¢ per message received. Assuming that every message sent will result in at least one message received, signing up for the $9.99 messaging plan only makes sense for consumers who plan to send/receive more than 28 international text messages per month (28 x 35¢ = $9.80).
While AT&T's text messaging plan may save money for only a small subset of users, the idea of texting friends and family overseas instead of calling them makes sense, especially when you just want to check in. Since many international long distance plans assess a surcharge for voice calls to overseas cell phones, texting could make even more sense. To read more about the new AT&T plan, click here.