SMS messaging is losing its popularity to free chat applications according to a research firm known as Informa. Free chat applications, such as Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and others, are apparently grabbing more interest from users.
According to the research firm, only 17.6 billion SMS messages were sent in 2012, while more than 19 billion messages were sent across all kinds of chat applications in 2012, which are becoming more popular among users and are expected to only become more popular as time goes on. Apple also introduced iMessage in iOS 5, a chat feature that works from the Messages application like SMS. iMessage messages are different from SMS messages – they offer more flexibility, features, and Apple's own iCloud servers handle iMessages.
Facebook has also been pushing users to take advantage of their own chat service, Facebook Messenger. The service is offered for free for all Facebook users, and makes it easy to keep in touch with friends. Just recently, Facebook launched a new Chat Heads feature to make messaging in the Facebook application easier and more fun.
While some wireless carriers offer unlimited texting plans for a monthly premium, some plans still only give users a limited amount of text messages per month and charge extra for each text message sent after reaching the limit. The carrier limitations and even costs of SMS messaging offer more incentive for users to look for and use free alternatives to SMS messaging for keeping in contact with their friends on a daily basis.
Informa's Ms. Clark-Dickson explains to BBC that even though smartphones can take advantage of other chatting solutions, SMS probably won’t be going anywhere any time soon because it doesn’t require a smartphone to send messages via SMS. It can also be used across multiple platforms, which is sometimes a limitation of those chatting applications that are becoming more popular:
Originally Posted by Informa
Sources: Informa via BBC