Instant Messaging Eating Into SMS Text Messaging

from the but-of-course... dept

The old "accepted wisdom" was that folks in Europe communicated via SMS text messaging, while folks in the US were mainly doing internet-based instant messaging. There were a variety of reasons for why things developed this way, but it was a generally accurate statement for a while. However, even early on, some of us began wondering what would happen as the two worlds started to merge. That is, as mobile phones became more powerful and acted more like handheld computers, wouldn't users start to realize that instant messaging would save them a lot of money in terms of data costs. Especially with advanced phones like the iPhone, it seemed inevitable that "expensive" SMS would start to run into trouble. And, in fact, that appears to be happening. A new study in the UK (where SMS text messaging is huge) has shown that, as people start using instant messaging applications, their use of SMS text messaging drops significantly. The one exception, by the way, is with older users, who are comfortable enough with SMS and don't seem as interested in using IM on their phones. Either way, this has to be a concern for mobile operators who have a tendency to assume that high-priced services will always remain high-priced and in high demand.

Filed Under: instant messaging, sms messaging, text messaging

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  1. icon
    JS Beckerist (profile), 30 Apr 2008 @ 7:02pm

    cell vs internet

    My experience:
    Cheapest cell phone plan (not prepaid): I've found a 500 minute Verizon family plan. 2 phones, unlimited texting, unlimited Verizon calls, unlimited nights and weekends: I pay $130 a month.
    Cheapest internet plan: Currently we have 2 broadband options here, Time Warner Roadrunner and Verizon DSL. RR is $60 a month (which I have,) VDSL $40. I can find multiple sources for $10/$15 a month unlimited dialup.

    Cheapest cell: My cousin pays 15 Euro (roughly $30) for a single cell phone, no texting but if he added it it'd be about another $5 a month. Even 2 phones means $70, and that's not a "deal" by any means
    Cheapest internet: My cousin HAS to pay for dialup as there are no other offerings. ~$55 a month, THEN he has to pay by Kb used (not sure of the rate, but everyone over there is scared to use it due to cost)

    So in conclusion:
    America: Internet cheap, Cell phones expensive
    Germany: Cell phones cheap, Internet expensive

    It only seems logical it evolved like that...

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