Text messaging is considered to be an essential part of mobile communication. Who ever thought that sending short 160-character messages would take the world by storm. Originally popularized in Europe and Asia, SMS (or Short Message Service) is now enjoyed by virtually all mobile subscribers in the Americas, too. It’s even an addiction that a lot of teenagers admit to have.
Various cellular service providers offer different plans for sending SMS messages. Some plans are unlimited, which means you can send as many messages you need to in a month. Some plans have an allocation, and you will need to pay a few cents per message when you reach this allocation. Some services are prepaid, and you can send messages as long as you have enough prepaid credit. You can even send text messages to mobile users in other countries, although it will be a bit more expensive than sending to users within your network or within your area.
It’s therefore important to keep track of your text messages. This will vary across service providers. Some let you send an SMS to a certain service number, and you will get a message telling you how many minutes and SMS messages you still have in your allocation. On AT&T, you can even check your text message balance online.
Login to AT&T website. Go to att.com using your computer browser. If you are using a smartphone (such as an Android phone, iPhone, Blackberry, or Symbian phone), you can also browse through your phone’s web browser. You will need to enter your mobile number and password, assuming you’ve set up an account before.
Access your account. Go to the “My Account” tab, which you can find in the upper-right area of the screen. This assumes that you have setup an account with the website before.
Check your usage. Look for the “Data” tab. You will find a box labeled “Voice and Usage.” Click on the “View details” link. Here you will find all information pertaining to your account, including voice usage, data usage and SMS usage.
Keeping track of your mobile usage can help you budget your monthly allocation. This is useful especially if your plan does not include unlimited SMS messages, or if you are using a prepaid account. These steps are also necessary if you want to make sure your plan is just right for you. You might need to ask yourself: are you a heavy texter? Do you mostly use your phone for calls and not SMS? Or do you prefer to use SMS rather than call (as is the case with most teenagers, according to recent surveys).
The same procedure might also apply if you are using a mobile network other than AT&T. However, if you’d rather not check online, you can still use other methods. For example, some mobile phones have a counter, which you can use to keep track of the messages you send in a month. And then, of course, you will usually receive a copy of the number of messages sent when you receive your monthly bill.