Citing a recent study from the CTIA, the Journal pointed out that 1 trillion text messages were sent in the U.S. during the second half of 2010. That number, while impressive, was up just 8.7 percent compared to the first half of 2010, representing the smallest gain ever in SMS use.
For the top two carriers in the U.S., Verizon and AT&T, things are even more disconcerting. According to Journal, the average Verizon customer sent out 2,068 text messages in the fourth quarter of 2010. During the third quarter of last year, that figure was at 2,110. Citing a report from analysts at UBS, the Journal pointed out that text messaging was down 21 percent in the first quarter for AT&T, compared to the same period a year prior.
The importance of text messaging on a carrier’s bottom line cannot be underestimated. Referencing the UBS report once again, the Journal said that the average carrier makes an 80-cent profit on every single dollar it generates in text-messaging revenue.
With iMessage, BBM, IM by Nokia and Microsoft’s purchase of Skype and its inevitable integration with Windows Phone, this may be a sign of things to come in the North American market. Globally, however, SMS will likely remain king for the foreseeable future.