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 @ 7:09pm

    Re: txtmsg/IM

    Sorry to double post in the same article, but I have to agree. I can sit on my network watching in plain text what people are sending via AIM*. I just read an article where it's nearly impossible to retrieve texts. I can't find the article now (just spent a few searching) but it was basically saying that in the event a crime was committed, if the perp used text messages it's not easy to retrieve the texts, and that they are rarely stored for more than a few minutes, let alone days or weeks on any "central server."

    BTW: for you *nix users, check out Ethereal. It's the tool I use to see AIM messages (handy if you have someone backpacking on your network and they happen to be...dumb)

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