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Texting Up, Talking Down

The New York Times reports that for the first time SMS (Texting) was more popular than talk.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, American cellphone subscribers for the first time sent text messages more than they phoned, according to Nielsen Mobile. Since then, the average subscriber’s volume of text messages has shot upward by 64 percent, while the average number of calls has dropped slightly.

This is wonderfully supportive story for the traditional telcos who operate or are investing in mobile networks, but also a huge and supportive story for the services like client Palringo, plus Meebo and Nimbuzz, all of which are into the no cost (other than a data plan) IM world.

The use of SMS brings high profit to the carriers. Just as Skype and other IP based voice and IM services have cut into the traditional land line business for calls (something that likely was not reflected in the study, and wasn't referred to in story) through disruption, these next generation cross service platforms will also begin to erode and disrupt the user base of SMS as they'll offer more robustness than the original. As the carriers offer more data plans at lower prices these services will cut into the share of SMS revenue simply because they offer more and are "cool."

The coolness factor can't be overlooked. It plays a big part in the youth of our generation adopting something. Just as Skype was/is a cool way to communicate, these new services bring that same degree of "coolness" and as colleague Bill Ryan likes to say, "it's all about Speed To Cool."


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