Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The cost of texting

As if we needed another reason to hate mobile phone companies, Nigel Bannister, from the University of Leicester, has worked out that it costs four times as much to send a text message from a mobile phone as it does to transmit scientific data into outer space from the Hubble Telescope.

Four times as much!

Here's how Nigel worked it out:

“The maximum size for a text message is 160 characters, which takes 140 bytes because there are only 7 bits per character in the text messaging system, and we assume the average price for a text message is about 10 cents.

There are 1,048,576 bytes in a megabyte, so that’s 1 million/140 = 7490 text messages to transmit one megabyte.

At around 10 cents each, that’s [$734] per MB - or about 4.4 times more expensive than the ‘most pessimistic’ estimate for Hubble Space Telescope transmission costs [of $166 per megabyte].”