You have... zero... messages.

As I was attempting to pay my T-Mobile bill this past weekend (a futile endeavor, as their billing system was unavailable — an unfortunately very common occurrence), I decided to look at their offered services. It was mostly just morbid curiosity rather than actual interest, as I find cell phone rates for services obnoxious.

I've ranted about the ridiculousness of text messaging prices before. (As a side note, I have noticed that it does seem that I am not charged for a text message receipt when one is sent to me, but only when I choose to read it. It's still not terribly comforting, considering my phone has a tendency to double-tap the "OK" key, so my attempt to view my message list often inadvertently results in my reading a message, whether I wanted it or not.)

One thing that annoyed me was the fact that text messaging plans were specific to phone lines, not to plans. My wife and I have a phone plan where we share minutes; but we cannot get a plan that allows us to share messages. Well, T-Mobile has added a family messaging plan that — lo and behold — allows you to pay once for messaging on all lines on your account! Unfortunately, the only plan available for an entire family is the "unlimited" plan, which is $25/month. It's still way above and beyond expensive for our usage (which is more like 10 messages per month), but I'll bet for some families, this would be quite a deal.

Another major annoyance I had was that there was no way to block text messages. You couldn't stop someone from sending you messages to potentially run up your phone bill. Well, that, too, is no longer a problem. There are now options for blocking messages, either per-phone or for the entire plan. There are various options for blocking, too, limiting outbound messages only, or limiting inbound messages to those from other phones (i.e. no automated spammers), or blocking all inbound and outbound messages completely. And best of all, all of the options are free!

Needless to say, I turned on all message blocking. As long as they insist on charging per text-only, length-limited email message, I won't be using it.

And while this may come as a disappointment to the two people who actually send me text messages from time to time (which I don't read, and either keep forgetting I don't read them or keep forgetting to remove me from whatever distribution lists they have that I'm in), I can only say: just send me an email. Or call. That's what a phone is for. :P

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