According to the New York Times, the allure of the text message has started to ‘fade’. In some countries around the world, it says, the SMS has fallen victim to the many and varied alternative services that have been made accessible by smartphones.
It’s a startling prediction, especially when the meagre text has become so integral to the way that we use our mobiles, but I’m not sure it’s one that we’re ready to accept here at Three.
There’s no doubt about it, data is the future – you only need to look at how much of it our customers’ managed to use over the New Year period. But the rise of BBM, iMessage, Whatsapp and the like haven’t quite spelled the end for traditional SMSing for us yet. Texting is part of a rich choice of communication and not a substitution for something else.
In fact, our research shows that when it comes to choosing a price plan, a decent bundle of texts is still important to customers. And in contrast to the figures included in the New York Times article, we actually saw a 28% rise in the number of SMSs sent on New Year’s Eve – 46 million on 31st December 2011 compared to 36 million the year before.
We’re also seeing a rise in communication from businesses to their customers via text – “your car is ready for collection” and “don’t forget your appointment”.
So as far as we’re concerned, we’re not quite ready to wave goodbye to our 160 character friend just yet. Of course, we recognise the importance and rise in popularity of those new services, and we’ve lead the way by including all-you-can-eat data on our smartphone plans so you never have to worry about the cost, but a text allowance will remain a feature of our plans for as long as our customers tell us they want one.
We’re not saying c u l8er just yet ;-).