Published December 4, 2012
It costs more to send a text message using Icelandic characters than one using only the Latin alphabet, due to technical reasons.
Those using mobile phones in Iceland capable of using characters such as ð, þ and æ get slightly larger phone bills than those who substitute these characters with d, th and ae. RÚV reports that the reason has to do with the programs involved in loading different alphabets.
Hrannar Pétursson, the managing director of the communications department at Vodafone, explains: “The moment you use the first Icelandic letter in a text, all the characters in that text are then bound to a larger program [which uses the Icelandic alphabet], which makes the message much larger.”
In terms of real costs, this means that one text message over 70 characters long using Icelandic letters costs the same as two text messages using only the Latin alphabet, or about the equivalent of one 160-character text message.
Hrannar says the situation will not be changing any time soon. He recommends that those wishing to save money in their texting habits learn to substitute Icelandic letters with Latin ones.