SMS became the first communication method becoming popular and total accessible among people. The development of wireless connection and devices facilitated the appearance of mobile phones in the market and people started buying this last-trend innovative technology, which in addition of calling also allowed them to communicate through sending short messages to other people. This fact led the way to the messenger tools we use daily nowadays.
In the middle 90’s the SMS gained instant popularity among students, who soon began shortening words into “text speak”, which used allusion and codes to squeeze whole sentences into a maximum of 160 characters. It is the way in which texting has become the norm for staying in touch, using it to communicate with friends, family and even work on daily basis.
According to Ofcom, the British regulator for the telecommunications services, people in the UK sent an average of 200 SMS and MMS messages per month in 2011. The average number of text and picture messages sent per UK inhabitant continued to increase in 2011, growing by 17% to 200 messages per month.
But today text messages look under threat from apps such as WhatsApp and Viber that provide the same service over the internet and, of course, in a faster way.
Data source: Statista. This statistic shows the number of SMS and MMS messages sent in the UK from 2007 to 2017. According to the most recent data, there were roughly 82 billion SMS and MMS messages sent in the UL in 2017.
James Thickett, Ofcom’s Director of Research, said: “For the first time in the history of mobile phones, SMS volumes are showing signs of decline. However, the availability of a wider range of communications tools like instant messaging and social network sites, mean that people might be sending fewer SMS messages, but they are ‘texting’ more than ever before.” This is how messenger applications won the battle to SMS in today’s society.