The days of SMS are numbered

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The end of SMS is approaching, as new statistics show. In addition to supporting my obituary to SMS , we also look at what else needs to hap...

The end of SMS is approaching, as new statistics show. In addition to supporting my obituary to SMS, we also look at what else needs to happen to put SMS away for good.

By Karn G. Bulsuk

A recent report by research firm Ovum on CNET indicated that carriers lost USD $13.9 billion in 2011 to social messaging, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Included in that list is also classic favourite BlackBerry Messenger and Apple's newest entrant into the party, iMessage.

In fact, a blogger on Forbes magazine sees that with the impending release of Apple's Mountain Lion, which integrates iMessage into the operating system, that this will take even more revenue away from carriers, as the line between mobile device and computer will be blurred.

Back in July 2011, I wrote a obituary for SMS, believing we are seeing the beginning of the end of this very expensive form of communication. It looks like this trend is only increasing as the popularity and increasing availability of cheap smartphones, thanks to the explosive growth of Android and Nokia's series of Windows Phones, which will open up IP-based alternatives to the masses.

In America, statistics have shown that smartphones are outselling feature phones. While in in affluent countries feature phones may still dominate the market, the average price of a smartphone is quickly decreasing, soon opening up the ability to own a smart phone to an even greater number of people.

The only thing left to seal the fate of SMS would be a unified messaging platform. At present, we're seeing a whole series of incompatible platforms, leading to a fragmentation of friends. If your friends in Asia uses Microsoft Messenger, while others are on Whatsapp, a few on AOL and yet more on Skype, it becomes a chore to install and load a whole series of programs onto your smart phone.

If one globally dominant platform were to emerge, whether it were due to the consensus of  key players to develop a common platform, or through strategies such as mass bundling of say, WhatsApp or Facebook with all Android phones, then we can say goodbye to SMS.

Carriers may cry, but customers will rejoice.


What do you think? Do you think that carriers will eventually lost all revenue from SMS? Will a dominant IP-based messenging platform emerge? Will the carriers try to stop the demise of SMS, or will they embrace change? Let me know in the comments below.


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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: The days of SMS are numbered
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