Is Apple Killing Text Messaging?

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Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iMessage and several other data-based services contributed in large part as text messaging in the U.S. saw its first-ever drop in the third quarter of the year. The trend, according to experts, is likely to persist as smartphone adoption continues to go up.

According to independent mobile analyst Chetan Sharma, texting was down in the third quarter of the year to 678 texts per user per month from 696 texts per user per month in the previous quarter, The New York Times said. The decline follows the trend in other markets where texting revenue has declined with an increasing number of mobile subscribers switching to data-based messaging. Apps like Apple’s iMessage and Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger use data and end up being much cheaper for a user when compared to the texting service, which comes bundled with cellular subscriptions.

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However, a decline in texting revenue does not necessarily translate to a decline in earnings for telecoms. According to Sharma, almost 45 percent of the revenue per customer for AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and Sprint (NYSE:S), the top three carriers in the U.S., comes from mobile data accounts.

The trend was also noticed among American businesses that offer cellphones to employees. Tero Kuittinen, vice president of Alekstra, a company that helps people manage cellphone costs, told The NYT that employees at 10 of its corporate clients were sending 5 to 10 percent fewer text messages than a year ago.

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