Chat Apps Overtake SMS for the First Time

April 30th, 2013 at 2:38 am
 


For the first time in tech history, instant messaging apps likes WhatsApp has overtaken SMS text messaging in terms of the volume of users, as reported by research firm Informa.

According to Informa, almost 19 billion messages were sent daily on chat apps last year, while about 17.6 billion text messages were exchanged during that same time period.

This shift may create a tremendous impact among mobile carriers, whose short messaging services have been a significant source of revenue. Informa’s Pamela Clark-Dickson said some mobile operators have already experienced a “decline in their messaging revenues.” It probably explains why in a separate study conducted by research firm Ovum, over $23 billion of SMS revenue was lost last year mainly due to the popularity of chat apps.

Clark-Dickson said that chat apps and its messaging services are expected to grow even further in the coming years. The firm has projected that by 2014, almost 50 billion messages will be sent using apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Line on a daily basis. As for SMS, just over 21 billion message on that same period.

Despite the takeover, SMS will likely to stick around as it continues to remain a key player in the mobile sector. Clark-Dickson explains that while most chat apps were used on smartphones, a large number of consumers from emerging and lesser developed countries continue to use feature phones. These people continue to rely on text messaging as the preferred communications tool.

“They don’t have mobile data plans, so there is an awfully big base of mobile phone users who are going to still find that SMS is the best messaging experience for them for a while,” she adds.

At the same time, businesses will take a second look at SMS, as it can be used on all mobile phones, including the chat app-installed smartphones. Those chat apps, however, do not work on cell phones.

“There are a few things that, I think, will keep the SMS alive for a few years yet.”

Source: BBC

 

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