I remember when iMessage first came out and thought, yeah the carriers are going to freakin’ hate this. Sure iMessage uses data, but probably a paltry amount (if you don’t attach ginormous photos that is) whereas SMS, oh that’s been a carrier cash cow since it came out.
Looks like the tide as turned and SMS—and the revenues associated with it—is in decline.
Here’s a quote from the Chetan Sharma consulting report:
“Although U.S. subscribers still send an average of more than 650 text messages per month, data indicates that messaging revenues have peaked, Sharma said. ‘It might be early to say if the decline has begun or the market segment will sputter along before the decline takes place. Once the market segment reaches the 70-90 percent penetration mark, the decline begins and we might be seeing the start of the decline in messaging revenue,’ he noted. ‘The decline is primarily due to the rise in IP messaging and operators have been slow to evolve their strategies in the segment.'”
And while the report doesn’t give a specific percent decrease, if you look at the deck and jump to slide 32 and then look at 33:
You can see the dip in SMS, but there have dips before and I’d probably see how Q4 2012 looks and Q1 2013 looks before panicking, however…
I think the writing is on the wall. Between iMessage (love sending messages when the bubbles are blue, since I know it doesn’t count against my SMS quota) and apps like WhatsApp, people have other ways to send short messages quickly to each other. Yes, iMessage (and WhatsApp) only work when connected to the Internet (which means when I travel outside Canada is only at WiFi hotspots), but I think the issue of not being able to get online is a problem that we won’t have for much long anyway.
Personally, I love iMessage. Getting messages on both my iPads, my iPhone, and my Mac (almost at the same time) might be noisy, but it’s darn convenient. I just wish Apple would open up iMessage to other platforms…now the carriers would probably really hate that.