In an episode of the Simpson's, Homer is at a theme park similar to Disneyland. As he walks up to a food stand he orders a Churro. When the employee on the other side of the cart responds that it's $8.50, Homer throws a fit.
Text messaging today is the same as buying an $8.50 churro: the churro itself is maybe 25 cents to make, another .10 to .15 cents to ship, and there is very little cost to prepare it. The rest of the cost is pure profit to the seller. The New York Times did a great job getting to the bottom of the accurate cost of a text message, the four telecommunications companies will tell you that the cost is due to tower maintenance, support, overhead, cross-network traffic, etc...but in the end it costs them nothing. Just like the churro, it's pure profit.
So as we now pay anywhere between .15 to .20 cents per text message the TelCo's are simply making a profit off of something that costs them nothing. This is one of the reasons why I insist that people e-mail, IM, or even Tweet me. Why spend all of this extra money per month for outrageous rates on moving very small amounts through a cellular network.
Maybe congress under the new Obama Administration should investigate why the rates are so high?