According to various reports, AT&T is doing away with its tiered texting plans and going all or nothing, giving users a single choice of unlimited or pay-per-text. In January, AT&T removed its $5 (200) and $15 (1,500) plans, leaving only a single $10 (1,000) plan active. As of August 21, 2011, the only choice consumers will have will be unlimited or nothing.

This appears to be another step in a long series of restrictive and greedy moves on the part of the telecommunications giant, which are usually followed by other carriers. One of the most drastic moves of late was the complete removal of unlimited data plans from its offerings, giving users a maximum data usage of 2 GB per month, with heavy fees and possible termination of service for customers that surpass that limit. It would appear, at least for the moment, that the era of a la carte mobile plans is coming to an abrupt end. No longer can you sign a contract for the bare minimum. You now have to either agree to higher prices, or face even higher fees.

AT&T Goes All or Nothing With Texting PlansIf you decide not to buy in to the ($20-30) unlimited texting plan, you may face a twenty cent fee for every text you send or receive. If the message comes through MMS, you will need to cough up thirty cents for what amounts to a fraction of a cent’s worth of data on the 2 GB data plan. Why AT&T, why?

While many of AT&T’s customers may soon look back fondly on unlimited data, tiered texting, and cheap tiered minute plans, the reality of the situation is that we’ve allowed ourselves to be constantly shifted into high-priced plans by major carriers. A phone that should cost no more than your water bill to keep activated is suddenly beginning to become a larger monthly financial burden than the average car payment.