Messaging And VoIP Apps Hitting Carrier Revenues


A lot has been said about the huge influx of messaging and VoIP apps and its impact on carriers. While almost everyone expected these apps to eat into carriers’ revenue, no mobile operator admitted this.

A new study conducted by mobile(SQUARED), based on interviews with 31 carriers, confirms that these apps have indeed affected messaging and voice traffic on networks.

BGR reports:

The study, which was carried out on behalf of Mavenir by mobile(SQUARED), found that a third of operators believe operator traffic from messaging, voice and video calling will decline between 11% and 20% over the next 5-10 years. Another 20% of operators expect even steeper declines in the 31% to 40% range.


42% of wireless operators say that they will combat this new trend by rolling out IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based services to offer things like Voice over LTE and data-facilitated messaging services. “By offering embedded or downloadable clients tied to a user’s phone number, auto service discoverability, group chat, enhanced calling for video and file sharing as a global service, operators can deliver value to their subscribers”

The trend, started by RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger, was followed by WhatsApp, Kik Messenger and a number of other third party apps. Subsequently phone manufacturers including Apple  jumped into this space. What they had was the capability to deeply integrate their messaging solution into the OS, which is exactly what Apple did with iMessage. If that was not enough, Facebook with more than 800 million users surprised everyone by releasing a standalone app called Facebook Messenger for iPhone recently.

WhatsApp, presumably due to its cross platform capabilities, has delivered more than a billion messages in just a matter of two years.

Add to these messaging apps, VoIP services like Skype and Viber, and you have a perfect data-only phone capable of doing everything and more, which is most likely what Steve Jobs envisioned.

[via BGR]

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  • Sean

    Considering that texting actually cost the carriers nothing and they use it as a cash cow… Who cares… Screw them. They charge to much for something that costs them a fraction of a penny to send

  • boomerang

    I second that

  • Hopefully, a day will come when text messaging charges are eliminated for good. If only people would adopt alternatives more quickly.

  • bleach

    mobile text msg should be free from day one.

  • Joe Obvious

    Texting does not cost the carriers next to nothing. The hardware, bandwidth and routing plans cost quite a bit. Every last person who comments on forums like this thinks that their service should cost as little as possible with no limits in speed, number of messages, etc but in reality customer support, hardware, bandwidth and providing a stable mobile carrier platform cost a LOT of money. Get real hippies.

    • J-God

      Once I hear that CEO’s can’t afford to buy their third vacation home or can’t afford to buy their daughter a second BMW, then I believe you post. All these companies are making millions to billion of dollars per year. Companies excutives are the dumbest when it comes to money management skills. When something cost more in their expense category, the only suggestion is, ” Hey let’s just up the price. ” hey Joe, that’s the reason why we in this economic mess, greed and bad money management skills.

    • kraken

      A text message is less than 1kb of data, and AT&T charges 20 cents to send and another 20 cents to receive one (even if it is spam). A typical webpage is hundreds of kb of data, as is an email with a picture attachment. Yet sending and receiving those is free.

      If it somehow costs cell phone carries more money to route 1kb of sms data than it does multiple megabytes of web data, that is their problem, not ours. If this technology truly is this inefficient after this many years it is clearly on purpose as an excuse to gouge customers.

  • Joe Oblivious

    @Joe. It does not cost them the 1,000 plus per meg they make on texts! You work for a phone company. I wish I could get a data only plan and would just use Skype.

  • Yokel

    AT&T recently killed all but their $20 unlimited texting packages. Presumedly in response to free texting apps & iMessages. I’ll just use google voice. So they’re just losing another $60 a year from me.

    • Paul

      The trick is to get the $20 text plan which gives you unlimited mobile to mobile calls to all USA cell networks and drop your plan by $20 to a smaller plan. Since 90% or more of your calls go to cell phones, this becomes ideal.

      • that clever

        @ Paul – that a devious and clever idea!!! 🙂

  • fas

    Forget the money, in India your SMS are restricted to 200 a day, so you have no option but to rely on whatsapp and other messaging solutions.

  • Hate to be the devils advocate ( in this case ) but there is an advantage to SMS/mms and that’s that it works cros platform the simplicity of just picking who I want to txt just by there cell number is so much simpler than having multiple apps n services to do the same job.

    • that clever

      True. But someone out there is clever enough to figure this out. FaceTime has some way of connecting with people that does not require a phone number.