Smartphone users are increasingly resorting to Facebook, Skype, Twitter and WhatsApp mobile applications to communicate with their family and friends. This is at the expense of the more traditional Short Message Service (SMS) offered by telecom companies. This trend has been attributed to the fact that SMS and voice calls cost the user way more than these applications, which only require internet broadband subscription.
As a result of this drift, telecommunications consultancy firm Ovum approximates that mobile operators will experience a revenue loss of over $23 billion by the end of this year. According to Ovum analyst Neha Dharia, the SMS technology has been rendered obsolete, being that you can only send one message to one person and that’s it. With social media messaging platforms, you can update your status and pass a message to any number of people all over the world at almost no cost. Images, videos and sounds can be passed on and on as well.
This is forcing carriers to come up with other options to stay afloat.
In Europe, voice and SMS bundles are becoming increasingly common, as are higher charges for data. It seems to help keep the operators in business, as the cost of data will likely not deter users from indulging in the seemingly bottomless pot of options presented by social messaging apps.
Other carriers are coming up with apps that enable their users to send image and sound files as well as chat for free. However, trying times are still ahead as Ovum predicts that the carriers’ losses will double by 2016.