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Alternatives to SMS cut into carriers' revenue

Posted: , by Alan F.

Alternatives to SMS cut into carriers' revenue
According to Reuters, alternatives to SMS (short message service) are cutting into the profits of Stateside mobile carriers. BlackBerry Messenger, iMessenger and Facebook's mobile messenger service are three of the names mentioned by Reuters as messaging services that are taking revenue away from the carriers. And some of the alternatives to SMS are able to add many of the same features that the carriers offer.

While those using alternative messaging services still must pay for internet access on their mobile device, the cost for each message is less than if the user signed up for a monthly SMS plan, or paid for each message sent. The carriers in the U.S. are missing out on buckets of money since they charge both the sender and recipient of a text message. European carriers already have seen their financials hurt by lower use of SMS. For example, Dutch carrier KPN blames the increased use of the messaging service offered by Facebook and Twitter for the drop in text messaging revenue the carrier had last year.

To show how wide spread the use of alternative messaging services is overseas, South Korea's Kakaotalk handles 30 billion messages monthly. And there is no reason not to expect this from happening to the same degree in the U.S.; Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told an Investor's Conference last month that he expects SMS messaging to be under attack in the States. And there is a reason for carriers to be worried. Craig Moffett, an analyst for Sanford Bernstein, called text messaging "the most profitable service known to man." According to the analyst, SMS messaging brings in $1,000 for every MB of data transmitted compared with 2 to 13 cents per MB that comes in from a wireless Internet data plan.

AT&T and Verizon have responded by eliminating some cheaper rate plans for text messaging. AT&T in August eliminated a $10 monthly rate for 1,000 text messages and now offers a $20 per month unlimited plan, or a pay-as-you-go service for 20 cents a message. In November, Verizon removed a $5 monthly plan for 250 texts and is left with a $10 rate for 1,000 texts a month, or a $20 unlimited rate plan.

What helps the carriers retain messaging business is that not every person has a BlackBerry or uses Twitter and Facebook which makes it hard to be able to send messages to all of your friends if they all don't own a BlackBerry or use the same social networking sites that you do. While messages sent on BlackBerry Messenger can't be received on an Android phone, an SMS message sent from that same Berry can reach all of its intended recipients as mobile carriers do have agreements to exchange text messages with each other.

It was the agreement among rival carriers to carry each others text messages that made that form of communication popular. The CTIA says that the number of texts rose from 930 million in June 2002 to 1.5 billion one year later after the carriers reached an agreement on

Despite all of the alternatives to SMS, according to Reuters, text messaging currently accounts for 12% of the annual revenue of a U.S. mobile carrier.

source: Reuters

  • Options

posted on 04 Jan 2012, 22:46 5

1. Tyroc (Posts: 5; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)

Damn, $10 for 1,000 texts a year, so 83 messages a month limit :)

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 03:53 1

12. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

> Damn, $10 for 1,000 texts a year, so 83 messages a month limit

Actually, the article state $10 for 1,000 texts PER MONTH, not a year. That gives Verizon a chance to make $120 a year rather than $10 a year.

Btw, ATT charging 20 cent per text is highway robbery.

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 11:20

17. Tyroc (Posts: 5; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)

I know it's per month, I was being sarcastic about the mistake before they corrected it, duh!

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:23 2

26. ZombiesAlso (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2012)

XMPP: $0 for as many messages as you can send or receive. As n data package is "required" by smart phone carriers xmpp is ideal for reducing monthly mobile costs.

xmpp IS killing sms

xmpp is quickly adopted by youth circles

posted on 04 Jan 2012, 22:55

2. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

I just wish Apple would allow Whatsapp on the appstore. But since it allows people to send full songs to and from each other (which would cut into iTune profits), so I cant see that happening.

posted on 04 Jan 2012, 23:15 5

6. biophone (Posts: 1956; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)

Whatsapp is on the appstore

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 01:09 1

10. Crossblade (Posts: 210; Member since: 21 Apr 2005)

and so is Viber, which offers both free (multimedia) messages and CALLS via either 3G or WiFi

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 15:18

24. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

If tried sharing music on Viber and havent seen any way to do it. But if your sure its possible could you leave the steps, cause I would like to try it. And doesn't any transferring of music redirect you to itunes to purchase the song?

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 15:03

22. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Cool! It had been removed for so long I didn't think it would ever come back. I have been using it on my Droid but when I asked iphone friends to download it they would say it wasn't there. But here's the rub...its free on the Android Market, why not the same for iOS?

posted on 28 Jul 2013, 05:00

36. davliscious (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Jul 2013)

XMPP is in every market

xmpp texting is truly free: no malware, no client lock-in, no phone device required

posted on 04 Jan 2012, 23:02

3. ILikeBubbles (Posts: 525; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)

lol well.. when you're sending 5000 txts a month it's worth it for the $20 per month unlimited..

posted on 28 Jul 2013, 04:59

35. davliscious (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Jul 2013)


unlimited XMPP texting always $0

posted on 04 Jan 2012, 23:06 4

4. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1130; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)

carriers must realize that a phone should not cost the average user over 100.00 monthly for all inclusive. People don't think that they should have to give up 100+ for service and then get nickel and dimed for texting. Stop trying to nickel and dime customers and satisfy customers, and churn would stay low, and stocks will move up because of volume and service. When a carrier tries to find ways to rip money from the consumer the consumer always fights back to cut rates. Carriers just don't get it. You can't satisfy stock holders and keep a customer base by f'ing the customer with nickel and dime fees.

posted on 28 Jul 2013, 04:58

34. davliscious (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Jul 2013)

"whatever the market will bear"

YOU are apparently bearing it. STOP paying to text. STOP using old-timey-sms texting

XMPP texting: $0

XMPP is an Open Standard so no client lock-in like false-free malware apps (like whatsapp, textplus, pingertextfree, viber, etc). XMPP texting allows any xmpp app, any xmpp server, any xmpp domain

Help end nickle&diming: Liberate your peers with XMPP texting knowledge

also free texting Open Standard: SIP

iChat uses xmpp texting and sip video

You probably use either xmpp or sip right now in your life. Expand your use and reduce your costs

posted on 04 Jan 2012, 23:14 1

5. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

@Tyroc - PA made a boo-boo. VZW is offering 1,000 texts/month for $10.

posted on 28 Jul 2013, 04:54

33. davliscious (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Jul 2013)

1,000,000,000,000,000 XMPP texts is $0

paying to text is FOOLISH

using legacy sms texting is IGNORANT

posted on 04 Jan 2012, 23:33

7. ILikeBubbles (Posts: 525; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)

then again i'm kind of surprise that they're making any revenue off of sms messaging..

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:26 2

27. ZombiesAlso (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2012)

considering it costs them nothing to receive sms, but only to send sms

xmpp ftw

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 00:24 1

8. tuminatr (Posts: 773; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)

i am not it has almost no cost to them

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 07:16 2

14. mctcm (Posts: 204; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

why is this thumbed down? a text is several BYTES, with each character being 1 byte

a megabyte is 1,310,72 bytes

verizon charges $2 per megabyte for data overage. from a text message perspective, lets assume each text is 20bytes

at their verizons data rate, one would be able to sent 65,000 text messages before using another megabyte. however, per text charge overages are 20 cents per text? they are f**king stealing from people

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 10:45

15. hunted (Posts: 403; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)

a megabyte is 1024 bytes. What are you referring to?

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 10:46

16. hunted (Posts: 403; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)

Sorry mctcm ignore that from me. I know thats irrelevant to you, but was thinking something else to post you

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 11:51

18. mctcm (Posts: 204; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

my error, i had the unit measurements all confused

"At 7 bits per character, that's 1120 bits or 140 bytes. Without a text messaging plan, those 140 bytes run you $.15 (fifteen cents), according to Verizon's website.

Compare that to the rate for data transfer (like when you would use your cellphone as modem). That rate is $.015 (one point five cents) every 1024 bytes.

That's $.015 per data kilobyte versus $1.09 per text message kilobyte. In other words, a markup of 7314%. Other cellphone companies charge comparable rates."

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:31 2

28. ZombiesAlso (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2012)

use existing internet data plan:

xmpp : $0

why pay TWICE to communicate by TEXT??

paying more than $0.0067 per sms is folly

paying to RECEIVE sms is imbecilic

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 00:53

9. snowgator (Posts: 3583; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

I feel so 15 minutes ago. Everyone in my circle just still sends text messages, and I do not know anyone who texts that doesn't have unlimited. Wouldn't want the poor carriers to have to go without money.

posted on 28 Jul 2013, 04:53

32. davliscious (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Jul 2013)

compare that phone plan without legacy sms texting to itself.

the plan without "unlimited" is MUCH LESS costly

legacy sms texting is NOT free

xmpp texting IS really free

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 03:25

11. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

There is this app
JaxtrSMS you can send free sms downside is it crash

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:32 1

29. ZombiesAlso (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2012)

and it's probably the adware flavor of malware

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 06:21 2

13. ibap (Posts: 758; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)

Follow the money. If the carriers weren't so greedy about SMS, these other avenues wouldn't even exist. The whole structure of charges, voice vs. sms vs. data is totally out of whack.

posted on 28 Jul 2013, 04:51

31. davliscious (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Jul 2013)

IRC existed long before legacy sms texting

$0 XMPP texting was IRC inspired

The ignorant suffer these expenses. Liberate your peers with knowledge.

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 11:57

19. squeeb (Posts: 99; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)

Gchat all the way..been using it for years, since my old blackberry. And I've successfully converted most of my friends who I "text" to use it as well :)

f**k the carriers and their bottom line.

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 12:20 1

20. willywill_evo (Posts: 162; Member since: 05 Jan 2011)

ooo sh!t its the HTC WING in the pic, bring back memories when i used to send 5k text a month now i send 400 lol

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 14:33

21. beefsupreme (Posts: 32; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)

Who the heck actually uses BBM? I've had a blackberry for over 5 years and have still not bothered to set it up.

posted on 05 Jan 2012, 15:04

23. squeeb (Posts: 99; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)

I used it back 2008-2009..

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:17 2

25. ZombiesAlso (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2012)


Are you high? Jabber as alternative to sms:

Why have you excluded XMPP, the sms killer, from mention? XMPP (Jabber) is the ideal replacement to sms on smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops.

ONE Jabber ID (xmpp account) can manage all other IM and even legacy sms from ALL devices.

Jabber IS the text communication option that will DECIMATE the carriers customer rape policy



ALL the smart phone contact book has existing capability for Jabber. gtalk, however, is bastardized xmpp. google is also not a fan of e2e (end to end encyrption) as they would not be able to profit from violating your privacy as they do with every other "free" product.

Long live prosody.im

xmpp (Jabber)
$0 setup
$0 messages
$0 client

$0 TCO

posted on 28 Jul 2013, 04:48

30. davliscious (Posts: 7; Member since: 28 Jul 2013)

It costs the mobile carriers nothing to convey legacy sms text.

It costs mobile carriers NOTHING to receive a foreign network legacy sms text. It only costs them $0.00024 to send a legacy sms text to a foreign network _IFF_ they're still bound by an old world contract

There are 2 OPEN Standards for sending really-free texting, one already mentioned in this thread

XMPP: $0

All the pioneers of voip texting can also convey legacy sms texting via
+ email, and



free you to text from any internet capable device unlike old-timey-sms


NSA worries? OTR encrypt XMPP is simple enough for your parents. Stalkers or spam worries? "Privacy Lists" (or xep-0016) gives XMPP _even_ more privacy power.

If you're still paying to text on a smart phone you're ignorant at best!

Any allegedly "free" app showing ads is MALWARE (adware) and in NO way free. Examples of not-free MALWARE include: TextPlus, WhatsApp, txtme, heywire, viber, pinger textfree -- where you PAY by whoring your privacy!!

SIP, one of the 2 open standards I detailed also allows audio calls, video calls, and sending media files

iChat uses xmpp for texting and sip for video

search your software provider for:

xmpp client
sip client

For best results pair $0 xmpp texting with $0 otr encryption, and pair $0 sip texting with $0 sRTP encryption

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