My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: CTIA reports a 5% decline in US Texting as Instant Messaging ramps up - WhatsApp's now Top Gun as The Dead Zone leads Star Trek Into the Darkness

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Friday, May 3, 2013

CTIA reports a 5% decline in US Texting as Instant Messaging ramps up - WhatsApp's now Top Gun as The Dead Zone leads Star Trek Into the Darkness



Looks like my prediction of Texting Taking over Voice back in 2003 as documented in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers and SMS - The Dead Zone” is slowly coming to an end. Oh well, so much for my dream of Texting being the new BB Messenger of Feature phones!

On Thursday May 2nd 2013, the CTIA released some stats that indicated for the first time that Texting in the US of A, more formally called SMS (Short Messaging Service), decline by 5% from 2.3 trillion Tests in 2011 to 2.19 trillion in 2012 as reported in “Are Americans getting tired of Texting?”, published May 2, 2013 6:44 PM PDT by Dara Kerr, CNET News. The Full CTIA Report on SMS and IM can be seen using this link.

The graph below illustrates this astonishing declined well, as albeit 5% is small, it’s significant as it the first time in four (4) years that Texting has shown a decline. Worse, with the spread of 4G Mobile and the coming of lower cost smartphones as predicted in my blog article entitled “Analyst IDC States First Quarter of 2013 Smartphones Shipments finally overtake Feature Phones - Sub-US$200 Iron Man 3 Smartphones for Developed World Markets”, the decline is expected to get steeper by 2014.

The reason for the decline?

The rise of Instant Messaging services now being used in lieu of Talking and Texting! This is being precipitated by more countries light up their 4G Networks and more persons being to switch from Feature phones to smartphones with Data Plans to save money as noted by Analyst Informa in the article “Chat app now more popular than SMS Worldwide”, published April 29, 2013 5:22 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News.

Informa Stats indicated that the following IM Apps on smartphones were doing more of the heavy lifting in communication Worldwide, taking over from SMS:

1.      WhatsApp
2.      BlackBerry Messenger
3.      Viber
4.      Nimbuzz
5.      Apple's iMessage
6.      KakaoTalk

This seem quite the thing, with WhatsApp leading the pack beating Twitter’s impressive 200 million users a month according to statements by WhatsApp CEO  Jan Koum at the  AllThingsD's Mobile Conference on Tuesday April 16th 2013 in the article “WhatsApp CEO: We're Bigger than Twitter's 200M users”, published April 16, 2013 8:26 AM PDT by Roger Cheng, CNET News.

Twitter, if you may remember, hit the 200 million monthly use mark in December 2012 as stated in  Twitter surpasses 200M active monthly users”, published December 18, 2012 7:37 AM PST by Jonathan Skillings, CNET News. So for WhatsApp’s CEO to make this statement some four (4) months later in April 2013, they must be really clocking some serious Traffic on their soon-to-be-US$0.99-a-year Service.

WhatsApp furthermore got a boost from Nokia with a dedicated WhatsApp Button being placed on the ASHA line of smartphones as stated in Kelroy’s Geezam blog article entitled “New Nokia Asha 210 features a dedicated WhatsApp Button”. It’s not the concept that of interest, as I’ve seen this before with Facebook having a dedicated button on the HTC ChaCha, the HTC Salsa and the HTC Status. This of course turned out to be a failure as documented in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to add Emoticons to your Facebook posts”.

Rather, it’s Nokia’s recognition of the fact that WhatsApp is driving their Mobile Phone sales as it takes advantage of the trend among Millennials [ages 18 to 28] to have relatively low cost smartphones on a two (2) year Plan with Data Plans being used for IM and VoIP Calling.

Furthermore, Informa estimated that in 2012 all across the globe in countries where 3G and 4G Networks are installed and Subscribers have smartphones:

1.      19 billion IM were sent each day
2.      17.6 billion SMS messages were sent each day

The study, which was originally commissioned by the Financial Times as reported in Mobile data is growing, but voice & sms slowing”, published April 29, 2012 - 9:02 PM PDT By Om Malik, Gigaom also made a shocking projection for 2013 and beyond:

1.      50 billion IM were sent each day
2.      21 billion SMS messages were sent each day

This seems fair, actually, as it meshes well with Analyst IDC’s Global numbers that indicate more smartphones are being shipped and used in Developing World countries currently deploying 3G and 4G Wireless Broadband Networks as stated in my blog article entitled “Analyst IDC States First Quarter of 2013 Smartphones Shipments finally overtake Feature Phones - Sub-US$200 Iron Man 3 Smartphones for Developed World Markets”.

More unlimited plans in the US as more smartphone users take on Date Plans but eschew Voice Plans in their 2 year packages. The Millennials [ages 18 to 28] prefer to use the VoIP in many of these IM Service or Social Networks such as Facebook or Twitter for Voice. As such, to encourage more Talking, Texting Bundles will decline in price, which will spur a renaissance of sorts in Texting. By then the death of Texting would have set in the US of A Telecoms Market, as Social Network and IM Apps fill the gap.

Combined with the lowering of the cost of smartphones as recommended by the ABI Research data as stated in my blog article entitled “Analyst IDC States First Quarter of 2013 Smartphones Shipments finally overtake Feature Phones - Sub-US$200 Iron Man 3 Smartphones for Developed World Markets” this decline in Text message usage is expected to accelerate both in the US and Globally.

Telecom Providers are slowly losing the last Big Cash Cow of the Voice Telecom Era: Texting. WhatsApp’s now Top Gun (1986) as The Dead Zone (1983) leads Star Trek Into the Darkness (2013).
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