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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : May 06, 2013

SMS use falling in U.S.

Text-messaging has been a cash cow for wireless carriers for years but, as the wireless industry's trade association, CTIA, has just announced, the number of Americans sending SMS messages is dropping.

by Helen Leggatt

Last year, wireless users in the U.S. sent and received 2.19 trillion SMS messages. That figure is down 4.9% on 2011's 2.3 trillion, according to the CTIA, the first decline after years of significant growth.

The drop in SMS messaging doesn't mean Americans are sending fewer messages overall. Instead, "over the top" services are being used such as WhatsApp and Skype. In fact, MMS traffic is up 41% to 74.5 billion messages sent and received.

In terms of data traffic, U.S. mobile networks carried 69% more in 2012 than in the previous year, reported the CTIA in its Year End-2012 Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey. Data traffic broke the 1 trillion megabytes milestone in 2012, rising from 866.8 billion megabytes to 1.468 trillion.

Capital investment reached an all-time high in 2012. Wireless carriers invested more than $30 billion in capital in the U.S. in 2012, amounting to a quarter of all wireless investment around the world (according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch).

"The U.S. wireless industry's record-setting level of network investment is clear proof of its continued commitment to providing Americans with superior 4G coverage. The wireless industry invested billions of dollars to improve their networks and their customers' coverage in 2012, fueling the 'virtuous cycle' of innovation. New devices, apps and content were developed so consumers could take advantage of the faster network speeds and capabilities. That's why the U.S. leads the world in wireless innovation and competition," said Steve Largent, President and CEO, CTIA.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: capital investment, mobile network, SMS trends, text messaging, U.S., wireless networks

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