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Text messaging declines for first time thanks in part to iMessage

A report from independent analyst Chetan Sharma suggests text messaging is on the decline in the US. Results from his report published on Monday show that the number of text messages sent each month by wireless customers has fallen. In the third quarter of 2012, mobile phone owners in the US sent 678 texts per month, a decline from Q2 when customers sent 696 texts monthly.

It's a small drop, but a significant one as it is the first time the number of monthly US text messages has not increased. Sharma lays the blame on alternative messaging services like Facebook and iMessage, which let people send messages outside of the carrier's text messaging service. With billions of Facebook users and millions of iPhones in circulation, it's not surprising that they are making a dent in text messaging rates.

Apple's Messages app circumvents traditional SMS when a text message is sent to someone with an iOS or OS X device. When a message is sent from an Apple device, the iMessage service parses the recipient's contact information and tries to match it with account details stored in Apple's vast iCloud database. If the recipient has an iCloud account and has turned on iMessaging, then the message is sent using Apple's messaging service and not SMS. With iMessage, you get delivery confirmation for each message and can see when the recipient is typing a reply.

[Via NY Times Bits blog]

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