August 30, 2006
Americans get texting as SMS finally catches on . Yhea!
After years of lagging behind Europe and Japan in the adoption of mobile text messaging, US subscribers have finally caught the SMS bug, reports the FT. Yeah!
"A total of 48.7bn SMS messages were sent in the last six months of 2005, up 50 per cent from 32.5bn in the first six months of last year, according to the CTIA.
About 40 per cent of the more than 200m mobile phone subscribers in the US now use text messaging, up from 25 per cent in 2003 but still far behind the 60 per cent plus penetration rates in Europe.
... Over the past year Cingular, a joint venture between AT&T and BellSouth, recorded 64.5m SMS votes for American Idol, up 52 per cent from the previous season. “American Idol was big and started people messaging,” said Mr Ryan.
... Mr Ryan believes text messaging has been slower to take off in the US in part because the economics of texting were not so compelling in the US as elsewhere, and because early adopters – typically business professionals and youth – had greater access to mobile e-mail devices.
Mobile carriers in the US have begun to address the first issue by offering subscribers bundles of lower-cost SMS messages that start at $5 a month for 200 messages and make text messaging more financially attractive. At the same time US carriers are actively seeking to educate their subscribers about SMS."
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