AT&T is the first mobile phone carrier to begin spamming its customers with text ads. It recently sent texts advertising American Idol to a "significant number" of its customers. Stop right there, AT&T.
Obviously, this is a terrible, terrible idea. The company defended itself by saying that the texts were free and that people could easily opt-out by responding with "stop." But they shouldn't even be going there in the first place.
Once they start doing it, the other carriers will, and then third parties. You think companies aren't willing to pay for text ads? I guarantee someone out there is trying to work up a deal where they pay in bulk for 10,000,000 texts so they can advertise their new movie. And yeah, it'll be legal because it won't cost the end-user anything and they'll be able to opt out of ads from that company, but then another company will do it. And another.
Spam is already the scourge of email. Don't ruin texting for us too, AT&T. Your customers won't stand for it.
AU: This is interesting to read, seeing as how Optus was fined $110,000 just this week for sending unsolicited text messages to customers. Hopefully we're not seeing the start of some new trend here...