SMS usage in the USA and Europe

Hey Guys

Just an interesting thought - we’re having a nice discussion regarding Whatsapp on one of our local forums. Seems one of our local SP’s aren’t impressed with Whatsapp slurping their profits away, and want to do something, like having Whatsapp pay for the data used.

:flushed: I know.

Anyways, the discussion then turn to the fall in SMS revenue, which prompted me to ask the question “What is SMS usage like overseas” as you guys have much better mobile coverage (ha ha) in Europe and the USA than in South Africa.

So… can anybody answer my question - what is SMS usage like in the US of America and Europe?

My cell phone plan includes unlimited SMS messages. I used to have a limited plan since I don’t send many texts, but that isn’t even an option any more. Unlimited texting is included in all of the cell phone plans by my provider. I just checked.

I mostly use Google Hangouts. SMS for people who aren’t savvy to Hangouts or I don’t know if they have it. Never gone anywhere near Whatsapp, hate the idea of FB Messenger, can’t use iMessage as I don’t have an iPhone. Whatsapp hasn’t really caught on in the US, AFAIK. I also fall back to SMS when data coverage is weak or non-existent.

Until about 3-4 years ago, most USians were on mobile plans where they had to pay extra for more than 500 (I think) SMS messages per month - you could go 500, 2000 or unlimited, IIRC. If you went over your cap, you got charged a ridiculous per-message fee (either 10 or 25 cents per message, sent or received).

My understanding is that in Europe, you only pay (or paid) for SMS that you sent because as a receiver, you had no way to control how much you were sent so the sensible thing is to not charge people for things they can’t control.

I’ve gotten a few messages regarding Whatsapp (don’t have it, no reason to get it). I think it’s catching on. I’ve also seen a few articles where it is mentioned prominently, regarding US users.

As a disgruntled former employee of a major cellphine company, I can confirm this is true. Some plans came with 100 or 250 messages free, but not many. Luckily, as @Nabiki mentioned, this is no longer the case.

However, some companies are still capping bandwidth for multimedia messaging (and other data).

Same here. I think you might be able to get a plan with limited text, but not if you have even the bottom-of-the-line Smartphone plan.

Data plans are the one major thing most US plans seem to meter once you get past the budget plans. My old plan was a prepaid/pray-by-the-month plan (cheaper, BYO phone, considered a bit shady as they’re often considered the kind of thing drug dealers or people with ‘credit problems’ would use, but they’re a bit cheaper, so…) and still included free texting and unlimited calling despite having a 1 gig data cap.

My ‘big boy’ plan has about the same deal, actually.

We’ve both got unlimited SMS plans, simply because that’s all our provider offers. Before Hangouts I’d use a few dozen a month and the wife a few hundreds. I now use one or two, and the wife still a few hundreds :wink:

Mostly the lack of change for the wife is that everybody she knows has (what seems like) a different favourite messaging app, and having done the research she’s either decided to avoid them or stopped due to the amount of junk/spam. There are a few that use Hangouts, but it’s only reduced her monthly usage by less than 20%.

That said, if I look at the monthly plans we were using 10 years ago and compare them to what we’re paying now, it’s much of a such. Back then we were paying about £50 a month between us for our plans. Now, we’re paying about £50 a month between us. While we may be using slightly less text messages we’re using many more minutes and massively more data (my average is 5 Gb a month these days).

I mostly use Google Hangouts too. I send/receive one or two texts in a busy month.

My bog-standard no-gimmick pay as you go SIM plan is with EE (Everything Everywhere, formerly Orange and T-Mobile before they combined their UK efforts).

SMS messages cost 5p each to send, free to receive. MMS messages cost 15p each, and 5p to receive. Calling is between 5p/minute and 10p/minute depending on the recipients’ network. If I top up £10 every month I get 1GB of data for free, and if I top up £15 I get 3GB of data - this is an extra on top of credit. The only downside is that the data isn’t cumulative, and if you use it all up you have to top up again even if it’s within a month - or in reverse if you don’t use all of it, it gets erased after 28 days.