Short Message Service (SMS) was the most widely used data application, with an estimated 3.5 billion active users, or about 80% of all mobile phone subscribers at the end of 2010.
However, with the current popularity of social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and Instant Messaging Applications ( such as WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat among others); one wonders whether people still use text messages to communicate.
Some people argue that;
“When it comes to Person-to-Person ( P2P ) SMS, there is not much left. But in contrast to that, the Application-to-Person ( A2P ) SMS segment is still growing. A2P is a type of SMS sent from a subscriber to an application or sent from an application to a subscriber. It is commonly used by financial institutions, airlines, hotel booking sites, social networks, and other organizations sending SMS from their systems to their customers. For example, receiving messages from Airtel or Stanbic on your phone”.
Other people argue that;
“SMS rides on the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) connectivity that also delivers voice. In that case, anyone who has a voice enabled phone can use SMS. On the other hand, the other applications require internet connectivity (whether this is delivered by WiFi or any other data service over GSM – e.g. GPRS, EDGE, 3G, 4G, etc) to be able to function. Therefore one needs another level of connectivity beyond the usual GSM in order to use them. And we are not yet talking about the phone type (only smart phones support them). For that reason, Whatsapp and Viber are not yet a direct substitute for SMS – and may well not be for the next couple of years”!
Now, I had a debate with one of my friends on this same topic and she assured me that definitely SMS technology is dying especially here in Uganda.
She used an example of how one can use 500 Uganda shillings to buy data, load on their phone and be able to send many messages for over 24 hours, using a messenger like WhatsApp. Yet, if another person decided to use the 500 shillings to send messages, the maximum number of messages they can send is 5, for a network like MTN.
This made me wonder if SMS is a dying technology …