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Facebook Is Killing Text Messaging 270

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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  • What a choice... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:18AM (#39985375)
    On the one hand, a cartel that charges ridiculous prices for messaging. On the other, a service which will not allow you to send messages to users of other services.
  • Re:Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:19AM (#39985381)

    At best, facebook is an email supplement

    How can Facebook messaging even be compared with email? Can you exchange messages with people who do not use one company's services? Can you run your own Facebook message server?

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:23AM (#39985411)
    Well, it's hard to compete with free. But (if I were in the carriers' position) I would stress the privacy/advertising/data mining issues, and try to appeal to people who have no facebook account an no interest in getting one. And lower the prices ... I think the gravy train for them is nearing the end for SMS messages. So at least facebook is a positive in that regard. Anyway, wouldn't Twitter be more along the lines of direct competition?
  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sureshot007 ( 1406703 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:24AM (#39985421)
    So, if you have a phone plan that includes unlimited text messages, but don't use them as much now, wouldn't that be ADDING to the teleco's revenue?

    Further more, how would a data driven app displace a cellular function??? Text messaging uses less power and resources on my phone. I can text all day long but if have to be connected to the internet to use facebook, I get far less life out of my battery. I don't get why people would prefer a data app over a native cell feature...but that's just me.
  • Facebook = (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:29AM (#39985449)
    developed by a narcissist for narcissists
  • by contrapunctus ( 907549 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:37AM (#39985503)

    actually it's infinity percent markup since SMS costs telcos nothing at all...

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aliquis ( 678370 ) <dospam@gmail.com> on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:41AM (#39985515) Homepage

    Yeah. Because no-one listen to your SMS messages ...

  • Re:Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:46AM (#39985545) Journal

    Exactly. This article is attributing to facebook what is a result of a: general market shift away from ridiculously overpriced messaging, and b: a result of simply better services that are out there, such as anything that does text messages over data, including google voice and that apple messenger thing.

    Facebook's total influence on text messaging is probably neutral entirely, due to enabling people to get notifications via text messaging.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:48AM (#39985561)

    SMS messages are routed over control channels, which in most cases means that there is practically zero additional cost for the carrier.

    So, no, the failure to use text messages doesn't change carrier revenue. The failure to extract money makes a lot of difference for carrier revenue... which is what happens if you no longer get a texting plan, or if like me, never had one and stop sending the ~10 messages per month I have been doing.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @09:48AM (#39985567)
    But that's ok you are being mined other ways. Well you can compete with free, if you couldn't then how did Apple rise from near bankruptcy. When you had Linux growing, during that same time. I would argue we never really had privacy. Back in the pre-internet age if you were to go to the store and buy embarrassing products, the clerk could have been the town gossip, and by the end of the week you are an outcast because of some odd purchase. While now we are collecting more information, the advertisers are smart enough not to abuse the information, because if you make Jane embarrassed because she bought a product or has an issue which a product can help, you risk loosing a customer.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples.gmail@com> on Sunday May 13, 2012 @10:01AM (#39985641) Homepage Journal

    SMS costs telcos nothing at all

    ...to transmit, as text messages are stored in an otherwise unused field of the GSM keep-alive packet. But maintaining the software and backhaul network for moving these 160-byte packets around from one cell site to the next does cost greater than zero.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EggyToast ( 858951 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @10:05AM (#39985661) Homepage
    I believe that is the point -- people are choosing to use other forms of messaging and finding that they're as good, if not better, among their contacts compared to SMS. As such, they are saving themselves the unlimited texting fees.

    An unlimited texting plan on AT&T is $20/mo, and on Verizon, the $5/mo tier only gets you 250 messages. The $10/mo plan gets you mostly unlimited texting. So, people are deciding "hey, everyone I text is on FB, and I can ping them on their phone the same way. Plus I can ping people who don't even have phones and are sitting at home."

    So, it's more flexible, and it's cheaper. People then drop their unlimited data plans (which are add-ons and not part of the contract structure), which eats into the planned revenue for the carriers. What's worse, the carriers have no plan to recoup this fee once it's gone. They'll need to make up the shortfall by increasing data plan costs.
  • by fragMasterFlash ( 989911 ) on Sunday May 13, 2012 @10:14AM (#39985723)
    Just because SMS piggybacks parts of the cellular network protocol to get from the tower to your device that does not make it free. While I agree it is a cash cow given current pricing in the US you cannot completely ignore the backend and administrative costs of maintaining any large scale, reliable communications protocol. And don't forget the cost storing all those messages for our law enforcement overlords to keep us safe from ourselves.
  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Sunday May 13, 2012 @11:49AM (#39986293) Homepage Journal

    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.

    You got that right. SMS uses virtually no traffic for the carrier, it is well above 99% profit. Facebook isn't hurting their traffic - it is actually increasing their traffic. Rather, it is hurting their bottom line because they can't get away with marking up data rates to the degree they can mark up text rates. This "story" is basically just the carriers whining that their profit margins are decreasing because they got too comfortable with the obscene returns they were getting from text messages.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982