When WhatsApp broke into the App Store in 2009, it was a small revolution. Since then, a lot of similar services came to life, and the SMS’s death has become a hot topic. Even if WhatsApp believes no harm is made to network operators, it’s obvious that the start up has severely disrupted the market.
If SMS’s share compared to the whole instant messaging service is dropping, the technology is still heavily used. 11 trillion SMS are expected to be sent in 2016, for 16.6 trillion IP based messages. How will network operators make up for the loss of the juicy SMS revenue stream other than by increasing data charges?
From a consumer perspective, the decline of SMS is great on the short term, but it could end up complicated unless the messaging nebula consolidates. SMS have one great advantage, everyone can read them. We are already facing situations where reaching someone requires knowing how reactive they are on each available messaging tool. SMS remains the most reliable.
Before the rise of apps, SMS was the only way to send messages from phone to phone. Nowadays, we can connect with people via Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp and its clones, etc. The ecosystem has to evolve in a way that one solution fits all needs. Most of current messaging services are not radical innovations. They only add a layer of fun, utility, freedom to SMS. Whilst it is predicted that SMS and IP based messaging will coexist for the next ten years, we, as consumer should hope that better, open and intrinsically ubiquitous technology such as WebRTC gets enough traction. If nothing happens on this front, fragmentation will make us regret the time we were paying 10p to send 140 characters.