Whine about Cheese

So, I’ve always been rather confused about SMS, MMS, and the data plan from Verizon. And finally, after asking Verizon customer support, I have a clearer picture. At least a clearer picture of how much they would charge me for it all.

My overaching goal is to set things up at work so that I’m using my phone as a pager, if need be. So I need some kind of interrupt-driven (or frequent poll) notification method. My hope has been to take advantage of the exorbitantly expensive data plan to do that. And I’m still figuring that out.

I think the issues is that the providers all call the stuff different things. My Treo 650 comes with two messaging applications — ‘SMS’ and ‘MMS’ — SMS is what verizon (and most of the rest of the providers) calls text messaging. It’s completely separate from any data plan, and paying $45 dollars a month for the unlimited data plan gets you jack squat with regard to text messages. Which is a shame, because text messaging would be quite useful, and as far as I can tell, it’s the only interrupt-driven messaging option (well, mms probably is too). ChatterMail might likely be able to turn IMAP into an interrupt-driven notification (however, I don’t think it can do that with SSL enabled). And Chatopus probably could with Jabber (again, not with SSL). I sorta understood that already, and am still thinking through what I want to do there (verizon does provide an email-to-sms gateway). Verizon does offer bulk text messages so you don’t pay $.10 a message.

What had really been confusing me was the MMS messaging (basically sending video and pictures and pretty messages — Verizon calls it ‘pix’ and ‘flix’ messaging) — that’s not part of the unlimited data plan either (which is confusing, because sending MMS messages initiates some kind of data connection). Those are $.25 a message, with a 40 message bulk plan for $5 (not all that much of a deal). As far as I can tell, you are just better off emailing your pictures and videos with your data plan. (and they have unlimited ‘in’ messaging plans — which don’t do me much good with the work-related messages.

Bottom line? MMS isn’t useful (to me) — I need to figure out something useful to do with the data plan — and SMS seems to be the pager-replacement (maybe an SMS with links or ‘go check email’ for more information). Oh yeah, the data plan is still too expensive.