Chats apps over take SMS: Time for telcos to wake up and smell the data coffee.

Messaging apps are proving enormously popular across the globe especially here in developing countries; WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum recently solidified that point by claiming that his company’s service has grown even bigger than Twitter. This was like a hint to mobile operators. A new study from Informa, conducted on behalf of the Financial Times, resolves  that chat apps have overtaken traditional SMS in terms of message volume. More messages were being sent with WhatsApp, Kik, and manufacturer-driven solutions like iMessage and BBM compared with regular texting, by the end of 2012.  SMS has long been a massive source of revenue in the mobile industry and in Africa it will still in major use due to new services tat have been built on top of the SMS platform . However as time goes on the consumer is pushing towards free-to-use replacements which could be  a worrying development for carriers who have invested in SMS equipment.

The crisis isn’t immediate, however; SMS is still far ahead in overall user count, and Informa expects providers to rake in $120 billion from texting this year. But momentum clearly favors the up-and-comers, with message output expected to reach 41 billion per day in 2013 – double the number of forecasted texts. Koum said WhatsApp already processes 18 billion messages each day, so the firm’s prediction isn’t exactly unrealistic. So we only have to wait for time when the bubble will burst completely to a point of no return, where carriers to wake up and smell the coffee.

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