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Is Texting the New Home Phone Line?

No one makes calls from their cell phones anymore; they text. After all, isn’t it so much easier to press a couple of buttons than…

No one makes calls from their cell phones anymore; they text. After all, isn’t it so much easier to press a couple of buttons than to set aside your precious time for a three minute call? Texting is a huge part of communication, but it may go extinct - just like phone calls.

Texting costs money: real dollars, not subscription plans or Facebook currency. It turns out that your texting habits become very expensive when you go over the monthly limit. People are now looking for alternate, free ways to send text messages through apps. Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook Mobile Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, and other free mobile texting services are reaping the benefits. In return, Phone companies’ losses are growing: $13.9 billion last year following an $8.6 billion loss in 2010.

The smartphone market also reaps tremendous benefits. Since smartphones are required to use messaging services, the survival of real texting hinges on how quickly people adapt to smartphones. Approximately 420 million smartphones were shipped in 2011, which was four times the growth rate of the overall mobile phone market. It also brought the sector’s total market share to 28%. Smartphones will not replace every alternative anytime soon, but their total market share will continue to grow rapidly and many new users will undoubtedly change over to free texting.

The trend of free messaging will increasingly become more popular, unless phone companies drastically change their texting plans. It doesn’t make sense for consumers to pay for a service they can legally get for free from an app. After all, you already use Facebook, Google, and Skype for free, why should you spend money on texts?

Could phone companies stop this ongoing trend? Sure, if they make their texting plans free or cheap enough to convince people to use their services. Even if they do, the revenue pool they have will simply disappear. Companies like Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T will lower their prices and become more competitive in order to slow the change and collect revenue while their own product goes extinct.

Everyone communicates, but who wants to pay for it?

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