In a surprise development, the English alphabet tends to start with "A"

This article about Bell and Telus' plan to start charging us for incoming texts is fairly good, with perhaps one paragraph really ruining it:

A text message sent via mobile phone can be no more than 160 characters, and each character is about a byte. If 45 million text messages are sent throughout Canada every day and each message is about 100 characters, this totals 4.5 gigabytes. This amounts to about the same amount of gigabytes required to download two or three high-resolution movies from the Internet.
About a byte, eh? Are there a whole lot of 9-bit characters floating around out there?

It's a shame really, because the article goes on to make several good points (not just the 'two or three downloaded movies' bit). For instance, how about the revelation that even with Bell/Telus only charging $0.10 per outgoing text (currently $0.15), the resultant per-byte fee ends up being some 5 times higher than what NASA pays to transmit data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Bonus conservative take on the text message fees: Lorne Gunter had a creepy yet technologically provided quiet ride home with a van full of teenaged girls.