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Is the Death of Text Imminent?

in Mobile on March 20, 2012

Nope, not likely. At least not in the United States.

Questions have surfaced lately regarding the sustainability of text messaging amidst the rise of free social messaging apps like iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Blackberry Messenger, and more.

Phone companies allegedly missed out on $13.9 billion in 2011 because of these free messaging services, according to a report from Ovum.

Do these companies have something to worry about? Should they re-strategize and reevaluate their services to compensate for the losses?

Ovum suggests that telecommunications companies should collaborate with others in the industry, such as app developers, to leverage their relationships with subscribers, share end-user data, and integrate with social gaming connections.

It turns out these phone companies may actually may find some opportunity in this situation after all!

But even with the potential for industry-wide collaborations in the future, text messaging probably isn’t going away anytime soon amongst the U.S. population.

This article by Luke W Ideation + Design sums up the reasons why:

  • Texting in the United States grew 10 percent in the first quarter of 2011. That was down from 16 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2010.
  • In September 2011, 73 percent of American cell phone owners were texting.
  • Americans aged 18 and 24 exchanged an average of 109.5 messages on a typical day. The median user in this age group sent or received 50 messages per day.
  • This month, the volume of texting among teens rose from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median teen text user.
  • Adults in the U.S. traded an average of 41.5 messages a day, with the median user sending or receiving 10 texts daily.
  • The average email is read 48 hours after it is sent, while the average SMS is read in four minutes.
  • In the first half of 2009, Americans sent 4.1 billion texts per day.

While hope for text messaging in the U.S. still lingers, other countries are seeing a significant decline in the number of text messages being sent.

A blog article on the New York Times Blog Bits stated that Finland, Honk Kong and Australia are a few parts of the world that are experiencing this drop.

On Christmas day 2011, text messaging numbers were much lower in Finland, which is typically the busiest day of the year for texting. They were also down 14 percent in Hong Kong and 9 percent in Australia compared to 2010.

Why is this? Experts suspect the decrease is due to alternative messaging services.

But remember, text messaging is still the number one mobile activity among Americans.

Certainly, “free” is an undeniably convincing price point. But don’t drop your data plan just yet–text messaging is here to stay.


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