The U.S. is Texting, not Talking

Nielsen Mobile released a survey recently suggesting that American mobile phone users are actually texting more than they are talking. According to Nielsen, in Q2 2008 U.S. mobile subscribers sent & received on average 357 text messages per month (that’s 11+ text messages a day) versus making 204 phone calls a month.

What I find so remarkable about this surge in text usage in the U.S. is that the cost associated with texting only continues to increase. In fact, in the past two years the cost for sending & receiving text messages without a *special* text message plan has increased by 100%. Without one of these *special* text messaging plans, the consumer is paying $0.20 for each individual text message that is sent & received. The reason why texting is so popular in the Philippines (the text messaging capital of world) for example is because the cost of a text message is less than a penny & the mobile subscribers in the Philippines simply can’t afford to make phone calls. Europe provides another good example of a consumer base that heavily texts, but again, Europeans text in an effort to avoid high roaming charges between countries.

So with the costs of text messaging rising here in the States, why & where is the increased volume coming from? Not surprising to most parents – it’s coming from teens. Teens 13 to 17 years old on average sent & received about 1,742 text messages a month or 58 text messages a day! A surprising statistic to me was that kids under the age of 12 are also heavy text message users. These pre-teens send on average 428 text messages a month.

I forecast that even with the costs of text messaging rising, (which they are -see Verizon’s notice from last week about hiking their fees for mobile-terminated messages) that the popularity of text messaging will continue to increase here in the States. Not only will our teen population continue to send more text messages, but the enterprise world is continuing to adopt & deploy more mobile marketing campaigns with the help of SMS gateway providers such as Clickatell.

Brian Kirk
VP Business Development
NetworkIP & Jaduka


One Response to The U.S. is Texting, not Talking

  1. Brian Kirk says:

    just in this morning from the New York Times:

    Verizon Wireless is refuting reports it will introduce a 3-cent fee for all mobile-terminated messages delivered across its network. According to an email sent last week by Verizon billing partner OpenMarket, the operator planned to append a 3-cent charge to both standard-rate and premium text programs. But in a subsequent email distributed to the press, Verizon spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson writes “We are currently assessing how to best address the changing messaging marketplace, and are communicating with messaging aggregators, our valued content partners, our technology business partners and, importantly, our friends in the non-profit and public policy arenas. To that end, we recently notified text messaging aggregators–those for-profit companies that provide services to content providers to aggregate and bill for their text messaging programs–that we are exploring ways to offset significantly increased costs for delivering billions upon billions of text messages each month.”

    According to Nelson, the rate hike outlined in the OpenMarket email “has been mistakenly characterized as a final decision to implement. We don’t envision this type of change to in any way affect non-profit organizations or political and advocacy organizations.” He adds that Verizon Wireless has not increased the per-message cost to aggregators since introducing its messaging service in 2003, and the carrier has “never envisioned a cost to consumers or content companies, but rather on content aggregators themselves.” In an interview with The New York Times, Nelson maintained Verizon Wireless has not set any specific price for text delivery or a date a new fee might go into effect: “There is nothing imminent, November 1 or any other date.”

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