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Charting the decline in SMS usage in India


SMS usage in India has declined by around 37% from its peak of 46 SMS per subscriber per month in September 2013, to 29 per month per subscriber in March 2016, according to data made available by the TRAI. While growth in online messaging services has impacted SMS, it hasn’t killed it, that is clear. Also, this is unlikely to mean a decline in messaging by itself: IP based messaging has, in all probability, led to people sending more messages, because of lower costs for text messages.

A large part of the decline in SMS came between December 2014 (41 per subscriber per month) and June 2015, where 31 SMS per subscriber per month were reported, where there was a 24% decline in usage reported over a six month period. Much of this decline is owed to CDMA services, where usage of SMS more than halved over a two month period, although it’s worth remembering that most of India’s users are on GSM services, and according to the data from TRAI, the usage of SMS by CDMA customers was still substantially lower than that by GSM customers.


The outogoing SMS per subscriber per month for GSM services decreased by 4.5%, from 22 SMS in December 2015 to 21 SMS in March 2016. Over a two year period, outgoing SMS per subscriber per month was down 49% (comparing March 2013 with March 2016). Year on year, it has declined by 12.5%, according to data provided by TRAI.



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