Text messaging in the US is a rather expensive feature. Even the developing world outclasses US carriers in the text messaging dept. However, things are set to get worse as AT&T begins to “streamline” the company’s text messaging plans. This is usually code for increasing rates and slashing generous packages. This will ultimately put an end to the $10 plan for new customers. The only option will be the expensive $20/month unlimited package and the pay-per text package, which costs 20cents per text and 30 cents per picture message. For now, current customers will be able to opt for their existing package but if they want to change to the iPhone 5 (coming this October) or a new Android phone, they will need to change their texting option as well.
 
Fortunately, for the thrifty, here are three reasonable apps that allow you to bypass the expensive options on most of the nation’s carriers.

 
Pinger Textfree
 
This app lets you talk and send messages from your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and any Android device free.
 
The Pinger comes with a free phone number, which lets you text your friends even if they are not on the service. The service can also be accessed online which means you send texts from your Pinger number via your computer.
 

Facebook Messenger
 
There is a good chance that most if not all your regular mobile contacts are also your Facebook buddies. Hence, the Facebook Messenger app will certainly help you stay connected and cut down on your texting costs. The only downside of this app is that you cannot send texts to your buddies who don’t have the app installed on their iOS device.

 

 
Google Voice
 
Google Voice also lets you send you send text messages from your iOS device. Since the messages are sent over data, you do not have to pay per text. Moreover, the app also lets you ring multiple numbers and access your voicemail online.