While there is no specific data on India, it appears that text messaging (rather, SMS') reported a decline in several parts of the world, reports the New York Times blog, with drops being reported in Finland, (via Forbes), Hong Kong, Australia, and slow growth in the United States. While there is no data available on India yet, our sense is that by the time we get earnings reports in the next month or so, we'll see a year-on-year decline in SMS revenues, and the slide might continue. This should worry telecom operators, because SMS is essentially a low cost, high margin business. The changes over the last year that we think are contributing to the decline of SMS: 1. The Push For Mobile social networking: sites like Facebook and Twitter has received massive marketing support in India from almost all telecom operators trying to encourage subscribers to subscribe to data services. What's particularly interesting is that Size Zero (no data consumption) partnerships have been inked with Facebook (with Reliance Communication, Videocon etc for 0.Facebook.com and with Airtel for Twitter, essentially using social networks as a gateway to more data consumption. With messaging moving to social networks, SMS loses out. 2. The Rise of the mobile IM: The surprise from last year was the rise of the Blackberry Messenger and little known Whatsapp, both of which allow asynchronous instant messaging on the mobile, thus replacing SMS. Blackberry promoted its BBM services in India, and Whatsapp grew organically, almost entirely through word-of-mouth. 3.…
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