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SMS messaging: Is the old champ down for the count?

For nearly a decade, the dominance of SMS messaging in the mobile communication space had gone unchallenged. However, the scenario has clearly changed, with new players stepping into the area to battle it out for the throne.

Much to the dismay of the wireless carriers, traditional text messaging isn’t holding out too well against these new challengers. Thus giving rise to debates on whether it has already run its full course and is now headed towards its grave.

SMS photo
Photo by OpenClips

Is SMS messaging down for the count?

A dire scenario for text messaging

The fears of wireless carriers are becoming a reality and that too quite rapidly. Having depended on their text messaging services for the bulk of their profits. The companies are witnessing an evident shift in cell phone user’s method of communication.

According to a study by Deloitte, SMS messages have dipped to 145 billion in 2013, showing a decline of 7 billion. Even more alarming for the wireless carriers, the trend is expected to continue during the current year, causing the number of text messages exchanged to drop even further.

The new champions in mobile communications

There is substantial documented evidence to establish the fact that people are communicating more than ever. However, with SMS messaging dropping in numbers, people have clearly discovered an attractive alternative.

From the rough estimates quoted by Deloitte, it is evident that instant messaging (IM) has becoming the dominating force in the mobile communication space. Where on 50 billion IM were sent in 2012, the traffic soared above 150 billion during 150; overtaking text messaging for the first time ever. Again, the trend is expected to continue during the course of 2014, with the figure to rise above 300 billion.

Indeed, the role of third-party apps in the dropping popularity of traditional texting is hard to ignore. The likes of WhatsApp, WeChat, iMessage, Facebook Messenger and BBM have offered cell phone users a cheap and convenient option to communicate.There are some phone monitoring softwares which can be used to monitor phones. Also, the intensity of the pull has been such that WhatsApp, currently leading the pack in the instant-messaging space, claims to have 400 million active users per month.

This is hardly surprising, considering the free, cross-platform nature of the app and its capacity to let users share everything from text messages and audio message, to pictures and even videos. Getting one or more of these services from a wireless carrier causes the cost for cell phone users to increase significantly.

Aside from the instant messaging apps, social networking sites have also dealt a significant blow to traditional text messaging. As Internet accessibility continues to grow, cell phone users are choosing to use the likes of Facebook and Twitter to interact with their social network instead of sending them text messages.

Is the end nigh for SMS messaging?

While there is no denying the fact that the trend of SMS messaging is fading, it’s highly unlikely for it to die out anytime soon, especially in the current year. Unlike the stand-alone apps that need to be downloaded and installed by the cell phone user themselves, text messaging apps are available on the phone by default.

Furthermore, traditional SMS messaging can be done from anywhere at any time, provided the area has mobile network coverage. Contemporary messaging, however, relies on data plan or Wi-Fi, which may have grown more prevalent over the years, but still has considerably less coverage than mobile networks.

The fate of traditional text messaging hardly comes as a surprise. The affordability, convenience and interactivity offered by contemporary communication options such as social networking and instant messaging apps easily outshine the benefits of SMS messaging. Which is not only old, but also less adaptable to the changing demands and expectations of people, especially today’s generation.

About Sandeep Kale

Avatar for Sandeep Kale
Sandeep Kale, Founder and chief editor of Tricks Window. He is a Software Engineer and a self developed blogger and designer behind Tricks Window. He lives in Pune, India. If you like This post, you can follow Tips And Tricks Window on Twitter OR Subscribe to Tricks Window feed via RSS OR EMAIL to receive instant updates.
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