Texting rates drop for first time in history

Whatever the industry, innovation exists to meet consumer needs. Whether it’s aiding society through convenience or efficiency, streamlining a particular process of production or improving an existing product, it generally makes things easier and it typically replaces a particular technology or method.
Communication is no different. The telephone revolutionized communication forever and is often regarded as one of the most important inventions in history.
Although not as important of an innovation, text messaging or short message service (SMS) has seemingly become the preferred method of communication in society today.
In 2007, North Americans sent and received more texts than phone calls each month, and that trend has continued until today.
However, for the first time since text messaging was developed, texting rates have dropped in the U.S. In the third quarter of 2012, texting rates were down from 700 a month per customer to 675 a month per customer.
This number is perhaps a bit misleading though. As smartphones have grown increasingly popular within the last two to three years, these phones have begun implementing new software that bypass typical texting plans offered by wireless telecommunications companies.
Apple’s iPhone features iMessage and RIM’s BlackBerry includes its BlackBerry Messenger platform, both of which are used to send messages over the user’s data plan.
This has led to a drop in reported revenue from telecommunications companies across North America. Although it might be hard to imagine, text messages are extremely expensive if you look at the average rate typically charged for each text compared to the data they include.
Text messages can only contain a maximum of 160 bytes of information each, and when you consider average messaging rates of 20 cents per text, you’re looking at $1,250 per gigabyte of information.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, text messaging represented an average of 19 per cent of a typical wireless company’s data revenue for customers currently under a contract.
Adding further to a drop in text messaging are services such as Skype, Google Voice, Facebook Messenger and Twitter – all using the Internet to transmit messages between individuals.
Wireless companies have since adapted their business strategies concerning text messaging packages to offset these potential losses in revenue.
Companies such as Verizon and AT&T in the U.S. have introduced what are known as shared data plans that offer unlimited texting and minutes and allow users to access their data plan across multiple devices. The more data they use, the more revenue these companies will make.
Regardless of these trends, texting and SMS is still the most used application on cell phones throughout the World with about 81 per cent of users utilizing the service.
It’s hard to imagine a World without texting for most mobile users; but eventually something else is bound to come along at which point texting is sure to become a thing of the past.

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