Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Mar 2012 21:28 UTC
In the News A few months ago, I wrote an article about comments, in which I said, among others things, that Twitter can never replace comments because not only is it effectively a one-to-one communication channel, Twitter messages are also far too short to foster any form of coherent conversation. Over the weekend, a silly link-bait story illustrated my point perfectly.
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RE[3]: 140 characters
by Neolander on Mon 26th Mar 2012 06:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: 140 characters"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

The size of SMS is low because it sits on the back of the control signals that are always being sent from phone to tower. There isn't any more space to make them larger unless you send them as data, which then isn't "free" bandwidth (from the carrier point of view). So yes it is left low on purpose but nothing to do with low signal conditions.

Does this mean that in effect, carriers barely pay an extra in terms of bandwidth for every SMS message that is being sent and that they gently charge a hefty price for ?

This is even worse than I thought ! ;)

Edited 2012-03-26 06:56 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: 140 characters
by cyrilleberger on Mon 26th Mar 2012 07:05 in reply to "RE[3]: 140 characters"
cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

Does this mean that in effect, carriers barely pay an extra in terms of bandwidth for every SMS message that is being sent and that they gently charge a hefty price for ?


No, it means it does not use any bandwidth between the cell tower and the cell phones, since the SMS is passed inside a message that is send anyway by your phone.

However, the carrier still have to pay for transmitting your SMS from your tower to your recipient tower, and whether that cost 10cents or not, is debatable.

Also, SMS can send more than 140 characters (at least in Europe), I regularly do that. But then of course it does cost you "ceil(characters_count/140)*sms_cost" ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: 140 characters
by Neolander on Mon 26th Mar 2012 07:09 in reply to "RE[4]: 140 characters"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Also, SMS can send more than 140 characters (at least in Europe), I regularly do that. But then of course it does cost you "ceil(characters_count/140)*sms_cost" ;)

Yup, I know about that, since I have learned to just enable unicode, type as much as I want, and deal with the neverending warnings coming from my phones and the obligation of finding a phone plan with unlimited texts.

I just wish it wouldn't be so complicated. Talk time is typically at 30 cents per minute for local calls here, and I doubt that a single text makes nearly as much use of the underlying infrastructure as 20 seconds of voice, even if it's heavily compressed.

Edited 2012-03-26 07:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: 140 characters
by Alfman on Tue 27th Mar 2012 01:24 in reply to "RE[4]: 140 characters"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

cyrilleberger,

"However, the carrier still have to pay for transmitting your SMS from your tower to your recipient tower, and whether that cost 10cents or not, is debatable."

I don't think it's debatable at all. Prepaid phone cards retail around $0.10/minute and deliver a far larger (and bidirectional) payload than an SMS. One could place a call, read the text out loud several times and get detailed feedback for the same price as one text. On todays cellular networks a hundred bytes costs practically nothing, but phone companies see no reason to evolve their highly profitable legacy fee structures. I guess there may be legacy limitations with SMS over GSM, but I think the limitations are kinda pathetic today.


Texting never really had much appeal to me, but even if it did I'd still find the prices to be a rip off.

Edit: If I had read ahead I would have seen that others already made the same points as me, oh well.

Edited 2012-03-27 01:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2