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Text messaging rates falling in the U.S. thanks to new options like iMessage, BBM, and others

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday November 12, 2012.

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Though the amount of text messages sent by U.S. consumers has more than tripled in the past five years, texting has shown the first signs of decline in a new report that tracks smartphone usage rates and trends. According to Chetan Sharma Consulting, the average number of text messages sent per user each month fell in the first quarter of 2011. It was the first drop after years of growth, and the rate rebounded to continue to climb - until now. Chetan Sharma reports that cell phone users sent 678 texts per month in the most recent quarter, down from 696 texts the previous quarter.

Falling text rates are to be expected given the rising popularity of messaging service that rely on internet connections rather than SMS. Since RIM introduced BlackBerry Messenger in 2008, smartphone owners have adopted messaging services that provide significant savings to the costs associated with texting. Messaging apps also provided added features like delivery receipts, faster communication, and enhanced sharing options. Adoption of internet-based messaging then accelerated with the introduction of iMessage on Apple iOS, and a parade of cross-platform messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and GroupMe have chipped away at the prevalence of SMS.

Text messages are likely to continue falling out of favor as more consumers upgrade to smartphones and have increased options to send messages; however, the change will not happen overnight. SMS will be around for a long time because of legacy users and the fact that it is a standard communication that works easily across the vast majority of devices, something no one messaging app can claim.

source: Chetan Sharma, via: NY Times

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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