Why Are People Still Using SMS?

With so much data and so many apps, why are people still using SMS? Here’s 3 good reasons.

I still remember when SMS messaging first appeared in New Zealand in the early 90’s. Back then, I wasn’t convinced. Short Message Service? 160 characters? I didn’t think it would catch on and I’m not sure the telcos at the time were any less sceptical.

Fast forward almost 25 years and we’re sending 20 billion TXTs per day and it’s hard to imagine life without this ubiquitous tool.

Over the last few years though, we’ve seen explosive growth in smartphone penetration, [reference to other article]. This has enabled Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) apps such as Facebook Messenger, iMessage and WhatsApp to become real alternatives to SMS.

So is SMS dead? No. Here’s why.

SMS is platform independent

Despite what you hear from Apple and Android, the smartphone OS war isn’t over. And hard as it is to imagine in my house where everyone has a smartphone, that’s not universally the case.

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Neilsen studies suggest that a third of US users don’t use a smartphone, this gets even higher in the older age brackets, with 54% of 65+ year olds on legacy handsets. Time Magazine also estimates that 29% of adult americans don’t use a smartphone as their primary phone.

With app driven messaging, to guarantee that your message is received and readable you must have internet connectivity and use the same app at both ends. WhatsApp will only talk to WhatsApp, iMessage will only talk to iMessage. Even if apps that will talk to multiple messaging providers are developed, they’re no good to that 29% that doesn’t have a smartphone or anyone without reliable internet.

SMS is available as long as you have a mobile phone and service plan. This makes its global reach soar as there are no pre-existing connections required, such as accepting friend requests or requiring two parties to download the same app.

The only 100% surefire way to ensure that your message is delivered is to use a messaging protocol that 100% of phones understand. That’s SMS – and only SMS.

SMS is multi-directional
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Tags:   SMS