The demise of SMS messaging is fast approaching. Recently, messages sent from various messaging apps outnumbered old fashioned text messages. Over the past few years, numerous new messaging apps have been developed. Unlike SMS, these apps are multifunctional and are free. In 2012 nineteen billion instant messages were sent, compared to only 17.6 billion SMS messages. This is expected to increase to 50 billion instant messages sent, compared to only 21 billion text messages by 2014.
SMS has been the primary means of sending text communications between cellular phones for twenty years. However, SMS now has firm competition from a variety of free IM services. Like SMS, instant messaging apps allow users to exchange text communications between cellular phones, but it is done through the Internet, avoiding carrier fees. In addition, I M service allows users to send music, pics and videos.
The growing popularity of instant messaging over SMS is not surprising. Although some wireless providers offer unlimited text and data plans for a monthly fee, other plans only provide users with a limited number of text messages per month, charging extra for each additional message sent after the limit is met. The costs and carrier limitations of SMS messaging give users incentive to seek out free alternatives.