In recent years, we have seen the rise of instant messaging and social media services such as Yahoo Messenger, 2Go, MXit, Eskimi, Skype, BBM, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, among others. Millions of people worldwide use these services – especially for their everyday basic communications.
It is easy to see how WhatsApp, BBM and Skype are eating into operators’ revenues, as they clearly take some traffic away from both SMS and voice. What may not be so obvious is the fact that Facebook messages and Twitter Direct Messages are being used in place of SMS by lots of people – and the trend is growing.
With SMS, the subscriber is billed for every message sent. In using social media and instant messaging services, the subscriber is billed a very minutes amount, because the services run on packet data e.g. GPRS, EDGE, 3G, 3.5G, 4G, etc. At times, several messages do not amount to anything more than N1.00. It is great cost-savings for the subscriber, but conversely also significant revenue loss for the operator.
As far as I can see, there is no way around it. This trend is the future. Communications will largely be routed via packet data. Who knows? Even SMS may eventually function that way, if the operators wake up to the realities on ground and embrace it.
Do you use any instant messaging service regularly in place of SMS? Do you use any in place of mobile telephony? How about messaging via social media?
Do share your experiences.