This impetus for this interesting question comes from Chris Hellmann:
Why do mobile phone companies charge for incoming text messages? For instance, according to the Cingular website, you are charged $0.10 per text message whether you sent or received the message and whether the message was solicited or unsolicited.
Looking at this from the perspective of the mobile phone companies like Cingular or T-Mobile, why would they price text messaging like this? Would there be a difference if they charged $0.20 to the sender of the message and charged nothing for receiving? Why do they choose the first option?
Again, it is more useful to look at it from the perspective of the profit-maximizing cell phone company, not the consumer upset because you have to pay for unsolicited text messages.