It’s not just Skype that’s rapidly growing; indeed, the entire OTT space is growing as well, as can be seen by the first decline ever in the number of text messages sent in the UK last year, ending a two decade-long streak of seemingly unstoppable growth that started in 2001.
A total of 7 billion fewer SMS messages were sent in the country in 2013, which brought the total number of messages sent to 145 billion messages. OTT apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Snapchat are thought to be the cause of the decline.
The number of text messages sent could continue to decline “as far out as 2018.”
Accounting firm Deloitte, the decline will continue through this year and “even as far out as 2018.” In 2014, it’s predicted that SMS messages sent will decrease to just 140 billion messages, while instant messages via OTT apps will be at around 300 billion messages.
“This is the first decline in texting in the UK since texting was invented. We have reached a tipping point,” Paul Lee, head of telecoms research at Deloitte, told the Guardian. “But the usage of mobile phones to send messages is stronger than ever. This year, trillions of instant messages will be sent in place of a text message.”
The first text message was sent from Vodafone HQ in the UK on December 3, 1992. The number of text messages sent every month reached 1 billion and had increased continuously up until last year.