This is the news that mobile phone networks worldwide have been dreading for over a decade – SMS is being replaced. Commonly known as “text messaging” SMS has been a constant for the networks for the best part of 15 years, being a major source of company revenues. However, smartphones are now the most common phone in people’s pockets, and being a smartphone they have apps that are created by third party companies.
These apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Chat, allow users to communicate through text whilst only needing a WiFi connection and bypassing the networks signal. Whilst using the apps on a networks signal, the use of these apps falls under the “data” part of the packages they sell, meaning that in most cases the messages are now free. Apple also released their own version of instant messaging called iMessage, which allows iPhone owners the ability to text each other for free without the need of downloading a third party app.
A recent study by Informa has confirmed the shift, stating that over 19 billion messages are now being sent over instant messaging apps per day compared to 17.5 billion text messages. This is the first time that data has proved that instant messaging has now outgrown traditional text messaging – with the signs only showing that the gap will now widen further.
Google, the maker of the Android operating system, is the next software in line to receive a pre-installed app for messaging between its users. The app is likely to be named “Babel” and will be made available in their upcoming “5.0” software update – allowing more people than ever before to use instant messaging and pretty much signifying the end of a text messaging era.
Even the Vice President of the EU Commission responded to the news on Twitter by tweeting: “It’s official: chat apps have overtaken SMS globally. Time for telcos to wake up and smell the data coffee.”