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Simple, universal, and insanely expensive. Nothing says "oligopoly" quite like charging 20 cents for a 140 byte message.

I wonder which existing technologies cost the user more than SMS per bit of transferred information. Even traditional mail is often cheaper.

A single SMS in the US can cost 40 cents, since both the sender and receiver will pay if they don't have bulk plans. Any message containing more than one SMS worth of information would be cheaper to send by first class mail, although the SMS does win for anything short enough to fit into one message.

Maybe there are costlier satellite data plans. A quick search of Iridium's plans revealed no prices, just resellers and offers of quotes, which indicates it may be really pricey.

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