Gone are the glory days of SMS messaging when usage was exploding at 30% a year. Two reports show that 2012 was the zenith of SMS and more grim figures are to follow.
A Deloitte study reports that 145 billion SMSs were sent in the UK in 2013, down a sliver from 138 billion (a drop of a mere 5%). Users are substituting SMS with instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat and Facebook to stay in touch.
There were 160 billion instant messages last year and this figure is predicted to nearly double to 300 billion by the end of 2014.
This has occurred because instant messages (note that the apps listed above support images, video and even audio - quite a concept when you think about it! - between users) sent over data are free and group texting is easier (remember my own start-up providing MiCircles, faithful readers?)
The operators have already responded - SMS are virtually given away - except for the odd entry level contract where SMS packages are unlimited.
At similar, woeful story comes from Strategy Analytics (Operator Revenue from SMS, MMS on The Decline): global SMS & MMS revenue fell by almost 4 percent last year to just below $104 Billion. By 2017, 20% reduction in revenue is projected, with regions with a high penetration of smart phones set to see the biggest drop off in revenue: revenue in America is estimated to fall by 38% and an 28% drop in Western Europe.