OMG: Text Messaging on the Decline, Says CTIA Report

By Erin Harrison June 10, 2011

It seems these days, people text everywhere. Literally. In the elevator, in bed, in the car (ideally, not while driving), walking on the street – even in the bathroom. But a recent study shows that wireless users are not communicating via text as much as they were at one point. (OMG.)

Results from a semi-annual survey conducted by wireless industry trade group CTIA show that people are still texting, but the growth pattern has markedly slowed down compared to last year.

“It is true that the percentage in growth isn’t as noticeable as the recent growth rate in total data traffic, but the numbers show Americans still send and receive plenty of texts,” blogged CTIA’s Robert Roche.

Despite the fact that U.S. cellphone users sent and received more than 1 trillion texts in the second half of 2010, according to CTIA, a wireless industry trade group, it was only an 8.7 percent increase from the prior six months – “the slimmest gain since texting exploded last decade,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Texting seems to have caught on biggest between 2007 and 2008, when the increase soared from 363 billion text messages to over 1 trillion.

Carriers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T charge fees of 20 cents per text to $20 a month for unlimited texting, the WSJ report said, with high profit margins.

With the latest text numbers, carriers have reason to be concerned, coupled with the fact that this week, Apple Inc. unveiled an application that will allow iPhone and iPad owners to bypass carriers and send text messages over the Internet to other people with Apple devices.

Apple’s iMessage allows users to communicate with each other through sending text messages, photos, video, contacts group messages and more. Encrypted over WiFi or 3G, users receive read and delivery receipts, typing indication – much like BBM on BlackBerry smartphones, TechZone360’s Tammy Wolf reported on June 6.Using Push, iMessages sends messages to all of a user’s devices.

Google Inc. is also reportedly working on a messaging application for its popular Android operating system on smartphones, “a person familiar with the matter” told The Wall Street Journal.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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