Texting Tops Out

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 9:42am

A trillion U.S. texts in the second half of 2010 indicate texting isn't going anywhere. But there are signs it may be topping out.

Time that was spent using your cellphone meant simply just making a phone call, or sending a text message.

Verizon Wireless has seen a slight dip in the average number of texts by its customers last Fall and this past Winter, compared to last Summer.

A wireless trade group reports that texting industry grew only 8.9 percent from the first half to the second half of 2010, being the smallest gain since texting caught on in a pre-smart phone era.

"As the years have progressed, we've got smarter apps, we've got Facebook, we've got Twitter, plus, we've also got some special proprietary texting alternatives that, possibly, are going to steal away some market from texting," said Scott Stein, Senior Editor of CNET.com.

Texting alternatives, such as ones offered by Blackberry, and being developed by Apple and Google, bypass carrier and use the internet to send messages and more.

"You can send video, pictures, or your location, and the fact that it's free, that's the killer," said Stein.

Especially for U.S. and Canadian wireless carrier that racked up 25 billion in texting revenue last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Analysts say texting produces 80 cents profit for every dollar, versus about 35 cents profit for every dollar of wireless data and voice services.

"The real bread and butter in the future has to become the general mobile internet access. That's the part that really is valuable," said Stein.

Increasingly so for wireless companies, as smart phone users get the message about alternatives to texting.



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