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Facebook Communications Social Networks The Almighty Buck The Internet News

Facebook Is Killing Text Messaging 270

Posted by timothy
from the funeral-will-be-awesome dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We've heard many times and from multiple sources that text messaging is declining. There are multiple reasons for this (BlackBerry Messenger, Apple's iMessage, and even WhatsApp), but the biggest one is Facebook (Messenger). Facebook is slowly but surely killing the text message. As a result, the social networking giant is eating into the traffic carriers receive from text messaging, and thus a huge chunk of their revenues."
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Facebook Is Killing Text Messaging

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  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dontbgay (682790) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:15AM (#39985359)
    Maybe carriers would reduce their crazy pricing models for SMS messages!
  • Nope (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blahbooboo (839709) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:16AM (#39985365)

    Not for me. Facebook sucks for messaging compared to iMessage or plain old texts.

    At best, facebook is an email supplement

  • Rediculous markup (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neokushan (932374) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:18AM (#39985379)

    SMS has a ridiculous markup, in the thousands of percent - sorry, telcos, but the gig is up. You've had your free lunch and it's over, how about instead you give us better data options so you can at least make some money out of all these free services?
    Face it - SMS and phone calls are a dying business, data is the future so invest in your infrastructure, encourage its use and profit from the fact that nobody's likely to offer free universal data any time soon.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:21AM (#39985399)

    They're getting paid. Facebook replaces messaging because people are using it through their smart phone. So they're paying for data plans.

    They should get worried if people stop buying data plans.

  • Earnings from sms? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ries (765608) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:22AM (#39985403)
    Even the most basic plan (12 dollar/mo, 3 GB data, unlimited sms) in Denmark includes unlimited text messaging.
  • Cutting traffic? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:24AM (#39985425)

    Exactly how is facebook cutting traffic for the carriers? If I send a text message via FB versus the sms application in my phone, are not the same amount of bytes being transferred? Actually, the FB transfer probably uses more traffic.

    What is true, though, is that SMS is a private service that the carriers gouge the public on in pricing and they haven't found a way to exploit the user who uses FB for their texting. At least not yet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:32AM (#39985465)

    With the fact that the data plans are so small for phones (just doing a round of Windows updates and application updates on a laptop will put me over cap if I had a phone plan dating from 2010 or newer.), the carriers are making in the money even with people that have unlimited texting.

    Before I picked up an iPhone, I paid $75 a month. With the iPhone, I easily pay $200/month.

    Texting isn't where you will end up being robbed, it is the data plans and the paltry bandwidth quotas.

  • by Yew2 (1560829) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:32AM (#39985471) Homepage
    Without facebook and others, how many consumers (outside of iPhone holders) really wanted any kind of data plan or could be convinced to pay that extra $20++ a month beyond already high cellular prices? Business users that required mobile email, right? Besides, how many times does someone have to get charged that same $20 a month for texting before they get a plan? We can be wasteful, but when it comes to our cell phones they are usually the first bill that gets paid, even if its at the last minute! If it werent for content management sites like Facebook making it easy and useful for everyday folk to collaborate in a mobile setting then telecom couldnt possibly convince everyday customers to pay so much as they are now "to get my facebook on my phone". Anyone shop for a new plan lately? You can't really get anything from big telecom "with facebook" for less than about $80 a month after all is said and done (except metroPCS, but if you have had them you know you get what you pay for) Sure the markup on texts is something like 5000% but with the absence of truly unlimited data and all these pretty new phones available to everyone, something tells me they will make their numbers. How many texts is $20 a month even with the markup? Now can we help them get more spectrum please?
  • A facebook message consisting of 160 characters would be less than 1kB (amortised). The usual cost of an SMS is between 10c and 25c. 10c per kB equates to $100 per MB.

    In other words, telco profit margins on SMS when compared to FB messages are orders of magnitude smaller. It might be even worse, I've heard that SMS messages are sent in some form of "control" packet hence the 160 char limit, meaning that SMS overheads are (somewhat) essential to running the mobile network.

  • Re:What a choice... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bemymonkey (1244086) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:35AM (#39985495)

    Facebook IM is just the gateway drug... As soon as people realize that text messaging should essentially be free, they're just seconds away from installing another IM client on their phone. Most people won't, because they don't need to communicate with anyone outside their Facebook friend list... But the idea should be planted :-)

  • Re:Rediculous markup (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crafty.munchkin (1220528) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @08:45AM (#39985535)
    Couldn't agree more, the cash cow of SMS messaging is dying. Now if we can just convince the majority of ISPs that excess data downloads shouldn't be its replacement, that'll be fantastic. My boss just received a $8000 excess data usage bill for his home account... *shakes head*
  • Well, it's hard to compete with free.

    Of course you can. You can jack up the minimum price for a smartphone data plan so that it's more expensive than unlimited texting, forcing cost-conscious customers onto dumbphones.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:13AM (#39985705) Journal

    Seriously, the profits the carriers were getting from text messaging were artificial anyway. Surely they realized that. Text messaging uses otherwise unused bandwidth at the cell site and is *way* overpriced for the value received. It was a glitch in the wireless revenue stream that any savvy provider would realize will go away at some point.

    Facebook on a wireless device does use up data plan, which can also be expensive, but is orders of magnitude cheaper than texting. It's evolution in action.

    I wait with bated breath for the carriers to lobby for protectionist legislation. Perhaps a surcharge on data plans to cover the lost revenue from people abandoning texting.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wealthychef (584778) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @11:41AM (#39986633)
    Actually, the article you quote makes jellomizer's point.

    But Target didn't stop the creepy target marketing -- it just got sneakier about it.

    "With the pregnancy products, though, we learned that some women react badly," the executive said. "Then we started mixing in all these ads for things we knew pregnant women would never buy, so the baby ads looked random. We'd put an ad for a lawn mower next to diapers. We'd put a coupon for wineglasses next to infant clothes. That way, it looked like all the products were chosen by chance.

    "And we found out that as long as a pregnant woman thinks she hasn't been spied on, she'll use the coupons. She just assumes that everyone else on her block got the same mailer for diapers and cribs. As long as we don't spook her, it works."

    The author of the article says it's creepy, but actually I think it's clever and discreet.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @05:58PM (#39989661) Journal

    I keep hearing people say that SMS messages are effectively free for the carriers, but such statements don't present the whole picture, and as a result, are highly misleading.

    Yes, text messages are sent using junk parts of packets that aren't used for anything else. However, there are a limited number of time slots per frequency, and a limited number of frequency slots. Therefore, it is a scarce resource. If text messages were free or nearly so, there is the danger that your text messages would be delayed by hours because of the backlog, making them early useless.

    When a backlog does occur, there are only three ways to fix it: add more bandwidth (which costs money), change phones so that they can deliver text messages using data traffic (which effectively takes bandwidth from other things, eventually resulting in the need to add bandwidth, which costs money), or charge a fee so that fewer people send text messages, thus avoiding the tragedy of the commons.

    So it is no more "nearly free" than biodiesel made from restaurant grease is nearly free; initially it may seem that way, but as soon as demand builds up, suddenly there's not enough to go around, and the cost of increasing the supply makes it largely infeasible to do so.

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

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