News Column

WhatsApp? WeChat and not SMS

January 14, 2014

Bangalore: The era of texting is quickly tapering out as instant messaging scores on popularity. With platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat gaining in popularity, the humble SMSing seems to be on the decline.

Estimates by research firm Ovum state Indian telecom operators could lose as much as $3.1 billion in SMS revenues by 2016, due to the emergence of platforms like WhatsApp.

Experts say WhatsApp has many advantages like free messaging, group messaging to any number of users, video messaging etc.

"We are all noticing the decline in SMSing. Those with smartphones have sort of forgotten about SMSing," says a telecom analyst from a brokerage firm.

Payal Parikh, a biotech professional in the city, who has been using smartphones since the past three years, says she SMSes hardly once a month. "That too just for some banking queries or to people who don't use a smartphone."

According to marketing professional Pooja P, platforms like WhatsApp are far more economical. "We can share pictures, videos, keep in touch with people outside India, form groups and get onto group chats. So when all these benefits are available, why would anyone want to get back to SMSing," asks Pooja.

According to Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO, The Mobile Store, several smartphone users still use a mix of everything. "They have a choice. So despite using instant messaging, they do tend to use SMSing at times."

However, smartphones have yet to reach a crescendo in India, says Chakrawarti, adding that it is still a developing market.

Data from Nielsen states that India has one of the lowest smartphone penetrations among economies in Asia. Only 18% of mobile users in India use smartphone, compared to 71% in China, 80% in Malaysia, and 87% in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Credit:dna correspondent

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Source: DNA : Daily News & Analysis (India)

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