Step back! The chat apps are taking over! According to a study, popular chat apps like WhatsApp and Viber are beginning to overtake SMS by the billions.
An estimated 17.6 billion SMS messages were sent each day around the world last year. While the substantial figure seem to confirm SMS’ popularity around the world, chat apps are now actually outpacing SMS with an average of 19 billion messages exchanged each day in 2012. This is the key finding of research firm, Infirma.
The report, commissioned by the Financial Times, confirms the growing popularity of chat apps including WhatsApp, Viber, Nimbuzz, KakaoTalk, BlackBerry Messenger, and and Apple's iMessage. The report speculates that nearly 50 billion messages are expected to be sent over mobile chat applications next year, while SMS will see a small increase at 21 billion.
This is not to say that fewer text messages will blunt data costs on carriers, as the apps do not help out on the revenue front in any significant way. In another study released by research firm Ovum, it states that social messaging apps will cost worldwide global operators $32.6 billion in lost revenue come 2013. The figure is expected to rise to more than $86 billion in 2020.
With numerous mobile plans featuring unlimited messaging, global mobile carriers are not likely to gain high incremental revenue. In the past, SMS messaging has helped to generate additional revenue for carriers, but with more non-SMS messaging systems now available, they are more likely to lose money in the process instead.