If you happen to have cross platform instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Nimbuzz or Kik installed on your phone, you will realise that your dependence on SMS has gone down a few notches in the past couple of years. What you have just realised is now official. For the first time ever, messaging using chat apps has run past traditional SMS text messges.

Research firm Informa has released figures stating that almost 19 billion messages were sent per day using these apps in 2012. As far as SMS goes, the number was around 17.6 billion only. By this year, the numbers are expected to nearly double with about 41 billion messages expected to be sent using instant messaging apps.


Still some life left in the SMS (Image Credit: Getty Images)

By 2014, Informa says that 50 billion chat messages will be sent using apps like WhatsApp, Kik, WeChat and more while traditional SMS messages will be at around 21 billion per day.

With the advent of the smartphone and affordable data packs, dependence on cross platform messaging apps have increased manifold and understandably so. It gives you the convenience of multiple messaging, group chats and a frequency of messaging that SMS would never allow.

But does that mean SMS is becoming irrelevant? Hardly so. The SMS is not going to die any time soon. If you notice, Informa’s figures too suggest that next year, the number of SMS messages being sent out will only increase. Informa even told BBC that it sees SMS revenue to grow from $115 billion last year to $127 billion by 2016.

Smartphones may be dominating most markets but it must be noted that not all countries and regions are dependant on it. Especially in India, smartphones still have a long way to go before it is adopted by everyone. Developing countries still rely on SMS to send out messages, the old fashioned way. There is no need to install apps or activate data packs to send out SMS messages. It is simple and effective with zero hassles.

“They don't have mobile data plans, so there is an awfully big base of mobile phone users who are going to still find that SMS is the best messaging experience for them for a while,” Pamela Clark-Dickson of Informa says. “There is a lot of life still in SMS.”

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