Less SMS, More WhatsApp
At least, that’s the way things are looking in the UK, with the total number of SMS messages sent over mobile networks declining for the first time in history. This has largely been due to apps like WhatsApp, which let users send SMS and MMS messages to one another over their data plans. The reason for this switch has been the fact that most mobile phone companies charge far more for SMS and MMS plans than they do for data. Many social networks are adding their own integrated with their core service. http://refugeeks.com/google-hangouts-soon-smsmms-intergration/. In addition, the growth of smart phones allows many browser based SMS alternatives too.
In fact, building on a trend Blackberry started in 2006 with their private BBM service, these competing private SMS services have nearly tripled over the past year. Where Deloitte estimates that SMS (Short Message Service) use dropped from 152 billion for 2012 to 145 billion in 2013, internet based messaging services like WhatsApp, and iMessage, are thought to have increased from 57 billion in 2012 to 160 billion for 2013.
While some might artue that these figures aren’t representative of the industry as a whole, it isn’t just the Americas and Europe that are noticing this. China has their own service, known as WeChat, and Japan is using a service known as Line. There are other services too – at least one for nearly every major technological center in the world. Where there isn’t a dedicated service, users just opt for the industry standards of iMessage and WhatsApp.
All is not lost for the cell carriers and their high fees, however, as an increasingly elderly population remains attached to archaic SMS formats, and will likely continue to use them into the foreseeable future.