According to a report by research firm Informa, instant messaging on chat apps such as WhatsApp or Viber, has overtaken the traditional SMS text messages for the first time, BBC reports. The firm says that almost 19 billion instant messages were sent per day on chat apps during 2012 while 17.6 billion SMS texts were sent during the year, a shift which will have a big impact on mobile operators.
The research firm points out that SMS texts have been a key revenue source for mobile operators for past many years. Informa’s Pamela Clark-Dickson says that some operators are already seeing a decline in their messaging revenues. According to an estimate, over $23 billion of SMS revenue was lost in 2012 due to popularity of chat apps. While expecting the messaging on chat apps to grow even further in the coming years, the firm however believes that SMS will continue to remain “a key player in the sector”.
“There is a lot of life still in SMS,” said Ms Clark-Dickson of Informa.
She explained that most of the chat apps were used by consumers who own smartphones. However, she said, there are a large number of consumers, especially in emerging and lesser developed economies, who use normal mobile phones and rely on SMS as the preferred messaging tool.
“They don’t have mobile data plans, so there is an awfully big base of mobile phone users who are going to still find that SMS is the best messaging experience for them for a while,” she added.
Informa has predicted that nearly 50 billion messages will be sent per day using instant messaging apps by 2014, compared with just over 21 billion traditional SMS texts.