Communicate

Stop Using Emoticons In Texts To Save Money

You might enjoy adding emoticons and symbols to your text messages, but did you realise that if you do that, your potential message length drops? Because emoticons require 16-bit characters rather than 8-bit, the maximum length of your message drops from 160 characters to 70.

Picture by Andy Kropa/Getty Images

In practice, that can mean you’ll be charged for two text messages rather than one with a message you might think is within the 160-character limit.

The issues was highlighted yesterday after a caller contacted Melbourne radio station 3AW yesterday to complain about how he was being double-charged by Telstra for texts that included emoticons and bullet points.

The problem won’t occur if you’re sending very short messages, but phones vary in their ability to recognise the limitation. If you’re on a plan with unlimited texts, you’re unlikely to care, but if you’re paying per text, consider cutting back on the symbols for safety’s sake.


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