I have recently moved from Vodafone and a windows phone to Virgin with a Sony z3 running Android and have noticed that I am being charged for texts over 160 characters as they are being sent as a picture message, not sms. I am assuming it is the character count, although I do send a lot of group texts as I am a scout leader and do not want to send separate texts to every parent. Firstly, is this a Virgin or Android issue as I never had the issue with Vodafone, and if so does anybody know how to get around it. I did try Virgin, they cancelled the costs in the first month but couldn't recommend any solutions.
One solution is to replace the stock messaging app with something like BigSMS, which does not convert SMS with multiple texts and/or multiple recipients to MMS.
As far as I can tell, all UK providers charge for MMS, simply because they can. Apparently, MMS is a far better protocol for handling big circulation lists or long messages. As MMS is included in the allowances in other countries, the phone manufacturers auto-switch just to help the carriers.