If AT&T's $10-for-1,000-text-messages-per-month plan has you contemplating a shiny new AT&T contract, you might want to rush down to your nearest store and throw down the John Hancock before August 21st. Why? What's happening on August 21st? According to AT&T, this is happening on August 21st:

Starting August 21, we're streamlining our text messaging plans for new customers and will offer an unlimited plan for individuals for $20 per month and an unlimited plan for families of up to five lines for $30 per month. The vast majority of our messaging customers prefer unlimited plans and with text messaging growth stronger than ever, that number continues to climb among new customers. Existing customers don't have to change any messaging plan they have today, even when changing handsets.

What is the alternative, you ask? Well, a pay-as-you-text 20-30-cent-per-message plan, which should fly like a lead balloon in this SMS-crazed world. So, if you send 900 SMS texts and 100 MMS texts per month, that puts you at a grand total of $210 per month for various intellectually stimulating hits such as "LOL", "Wutzup", and various pictures of cats. Obviously, AT&T is corralling their customers into Unlimited Land.

If you're already a loyal AT&T customer, have no fear–that $10/1,000 text plan will be grandfathered, along with the coveted Unlimited Data plan. Now let's contemplate this, shall we? AT&T no longer offers unlimited data, but they are now requiring unlimited SMS/MMS. So, that's twice the price for texting and limited gigabytage for data. If you're a free agent within the smartphone major leagues, would you want to sign a brand new AT&T contract?