Other Tech

Weep not for carriers


suitcase of cash

OMG! Number of UK text messages falls for first time

Continuing a trend seen in the US and other countries, SMS text volume has fallen for the first time in the UK.  An interesting little factoid.

What’s the main reason behind this fall?  The answer is Over-the-Top messaging, or OTT to those in the industry.  No, OTT messaging is not sexting by another name, it’s the industry term for those smart phone apps that ignore and bypass SMS in favour of instant messaging and other communication avenues.

Given the limitations of SMS, this doesn’t seem like anything unexpected on the face of it. The latest shiny apps have whizzy features to enamour all but the most die-hard of plain texters.  Mind you, that is probably either an indication of someone’s age or the level of technical sophistication of the user.

If you want to inspect the figures for yourselves, here are a few links to check out :

Chat apps have overtaken SMS by message volume, but how big a disaster is that for carriers?

The future of mobile messaging: Over-the-top competitors threaten SMS

Global mobile statistics 2012 Part C: Mobile marketing, advertising and messaging

Now to you and me, this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, after all these nice new apps replacing SMS are very often free or cheap when compared to the relatively expensive and exceedingly bland SMS. Not only that, availability over WiFi often provided free of charge means no payments to carriers at all.

So is it time to think about pensioning these SMS thingies off?  Well, don’t hold your breath, carriers make a pretty penny out of the clouds of SMS whizzing around their networks.  Given that fact, carriers won’t be keen to let that revenue get away so easily.

The funny thing about this is that they have only themselves to blame for this situation, since it was carriers themselves who happily brought this wolf in sheeps clothing skipping into their fold in the shape of smartphones.  Not only that, carriers happily subsidised them too!

Now that genie is out of the bottle, the truth is carriers have no one but themselves to blame for this situation.  An amazing lack of imagination with regard to where it would all lead.  Never underestimate the ingenuity and the sheer implacability of inventors.

Maybe this is payback for some of the dodgy deeds done by carriers in the past?

For my own part, I feel no sorrow for carriers.  It’s my expensive SMS’s that have helped fund my Canadian carrier’s excesses elsewhere.  Not only that, my carrier has made me feel particularly unloved and used by giving my SMS which generate them a nice little premium low priority on their network.

Who know’s, maybe we’ll find ourselves courted with SMS again by carriers?  That is when they realise the value these tiny little messages generate and that barely sip bandwith on their networks…

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