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. identicon
    yo ho ho...., 30 Apr 2008 @ 3:02pm

    SMS

    SMS is actually managed outside of a carrier's network and they pay a fraction of a cent for each SMS that gets routed to and from their network -- which means there is a real cost associated with SMS for the carriers...

    HOWEVER, it is almost nothing -- which gives you an idea of what sort of margin they make on any fees they charge.

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