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Facebook Is Killing Text Messaging

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the funeral-will-be-awesome dept.

Facebook 270

An anonymous reader writes "We've heard many times and from multiple sources that text messaging is declining. There are multiple reasons for this (BlackBerry Messenger, Apple's iMessage, and even WhatsApp), but the biggest one is Facebook (Messenger). Facebook is slowly but surely killing the text message. As a result, the social networking giant is eating into the traffic carriers receive from text messaging, and thus a huge chunk of their revenues."

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270 comments

Good (5, Interesting)

dontbgay (682790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985359)

Maybe carriers would reduce their crazy pricing models for SMS messages!

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985411)

Well, it's hard to compete with free. But (if I were in the carriers' position) I would stress the privacy/advertising/data mining issues, and try to appeal to people who have no facebook account an no interest in getting one. And lower the prices ... I think the gravy train for them is nearing the end for SMS messages. So at least facebook is a positive in that regard. Anyway, wouldn't Twitter be more along the lines of direct competition?

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985515)

Yeah. Because no-one listen to your SMS messages ...

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985567)

But that's ok you are being mined other ways. Well you can compete with free, if you couldn't then how did Apple rise from near bankruptcy. When you had Linux growing, during that same time. I would argue we never really had privacy. Back in the pre-internet age if you were to go to the store and buy embarrassing products, the clerk could have been the town gossip, and by the end of the week you are an outcast because of some odd purchase. While now we are collecting more information, the advertisers are smart enough not to abuse the information, because if you make Jane embarrassed because she bought a product or has an issue which a product can help, you risk loosing a customer.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985787)

Apple rose from near-bankruptcy because they had a good product, while Linux was still pretty shitty as a user experience.

Oh, and Steve Jobs sold his soul to the Devil, which is why he died so young.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985945)

You mean like when Target told a dad his daughter was pregnant [citypages.com] ?

Also, you loose nothing. If something is loose you should tighten it as not to lose it. Although I guess in this case you sort of did lose a loose customer.

Jack up the price of a data plan (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985623)

Well, it's hard to compete with free.

Of course you can. You can jack up the minimum price for a smartphone data plan so that it's more expensive than unlimited texting, forcing cost-conscious customers onto dumbphones.

Re:Jack up the price of a data plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985881)

Once you go blackberry you never go back.

Re:Good (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985663)

no, its not. sms are nearly free for carriers, as they consume very little ressources in the network. They just make very much profit of them. So they could offer them for free and make profit only with calls / with contract fees.

Re:Good (2)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985461)

A thought occurs: If the prices of sms were extremely cheap (about $ 0.001), would the increased sms usage eat into voice usage to the point where some of the US capacity issues disappeared?

Re:Good (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985579)

In the US, don't most People who text usually get an unlimited plan?

Re:Good (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985601)

Yes, but I think a lot of people are still stuck on legacy family plans from 2004 or so, so they're paying per message still. Unlimited text messaging has been $5/mo for about 6 years now, and in the last 4 years most single user/phone plans that have data also have unlimited SMS. To buy a new phone on a new plan these days, you'd almost have to go out of your way to pay-per-SMS unless you're a cheap bastard trying to avoid paying carrier's SMS tax.
 
My roommate (who can well afford it) is trying to avoid the SMS tax on his pay as you go phone, so I have to email him if I want a timely response, and hope he's near a computer. It's really annoying if I want to see if we're low on dishwashing detergent or whatever.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986047)

$5/mo for unlimited texting? Not from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile. It's a $20/mo add-on from VZ, AT&T and Sprint, or a $10/mo higher plan from T-Mobile.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985661)

I believe that is the point -- people are choosing to use other forms of messaging and finding that they're as good, if not better, among their contacts compared to SMS. As such, they are saving themselves the unlimited texting fees.

An unlimited texting plan on AT&T is $20/mo, and on Verizon, the $5/mo tier only gets you 250 messages. The $10/mo plan gets you mostly unlimited texting. So, people are deciding "hey, everyone I text is on FB, and I can ping them on their phone the same way. Plus I can ping people who don't even have phones and are sitting at home."

So, it's more flexible, and it's cheaper. People then drop their unlimited data plans (which are add-ons and not part of the contract structure), which eats into the planned revenue for the carriers. What's worse, the carriers have no plan to recoup this fee once it's gone. They'll need to make up the shortfall by increasing data plan costs.

Re:Good (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986001)

An unlimited texting plan on AT&T is $20/mo, and on Verizon, the $5/mo tier only gets you 250 messages. The $10/mo plan gets you mostly unlimited texting. So, people are deciding "hey, everyone I text is on FB, and I can ping them on their phone the same way. Plus I can ping people who don't even have phones and are sitting at home."

Depends on the carrier, I suppose. There are some US carriers (think Boost, for example) who offer unlimited texting included in the base package.

In the rest of the world, it's almost a given that your texting will be that low. I pay $5/mo for unlimited international texting on my plan. And I have European friends who think that I'm being gouged at that rate.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985805)

A thought occurs: If the prices of sms were extremely cheap (about $ 0.001), would the increased sms usage eat into voice usage to the point where some of the US capacity issues disappeared?

In terms of wireless, over-the-air bandwidth, yes to a certain degree. In terms of broader "network" bandwidth, no. Phone signalling is a wholly dedicated system, and it's really not that costly in terms of bandwidth- latency is what is usually the primary item of concern with voice. Now, that's not to be confused with VOIP services like Skype which rely on general internet connectivity instead of dedicated trunking between carriers.

But most people are already on unlimited SMS plans here, so I doubt we'd really see much movement at all.

Re:Good (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985597)

Quite right.

Facebook isn't killing text messaging, it's just giving carriers an excuse to.

See also who kills people, guns or other people.

Answer: people, the gun is just something they use to shoot with and without a gun they'd just use a knife instead.

Re:Good (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985759)

its an excuse to raise prices. Its scam. I don't see a decrease with all the people i know, and its increasing if anything.

Re:Good (1)

Stormin (86907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985901)

The rates carriers charge for SMS just shows how much strong, strong regulation is needed. If I were in charge, I would mandate that each carrier send a letter to every former and current customer who had pad an SMS fee, stating that the SMS fee represented price gouging because the SMS messages don't actually cost the carrier anything, as well as illegal monopolistic practices, since all the carriers colluded to raises these prices. I would then mandate that each carrier refund any and all SMS fees paid, with the amounts to be multiplied by a factor of 3 as a form of punative relief. I would further change the regulations such that if the carrier ever wanted to apply for spectrum licenses again, they'd need to multiply by a factor of 100 instead of 3.

Of course this would put the carriers out of business, but someone could buy the spectrum and infrastructure in bankruptcy court, and hopefully they'd learn a lesson.

Re:Good (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39986023)

Blimey. You really have given this some thought. If I were in charge I can think of a hellava lot of things to do before I got to SMS's.

I think I might start with Lawyers...

Nope (3, Interesting)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985365)

Not for me. Facebook sucks for messaging compared to iMessage or plain old texts.

At best, facebook is an email supplement

Re:Nope (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985381)

At best, facebook is an email supplement

How can Facebook messaging even be compared with email? Can you exchange messages with people who do not use one company's services? Can you run your own Facebook message server?

Re:Nope (5, Informative)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985473)

Re:Nope (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985493)

...apparently I am behind the times on these things.

Re:Nope (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985419)

At least SMS messages have only the telco carrier or carriers between destinations. They only spill the beans to law enforcement if they are presented with the right post-it note.

FB messages, who knows... FB can hand the messages to anyone they please as per the AUP/EULA, which means any advertiser who is looking for building a profile on people.

Plus, I can use encryption with SMS messages. I do that on FB, and most likely the message will be flagged as spam and never delivered.

Re:Nope (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985545)

Exactly. This article is attributing to facebook what is a result of a: general market shift away from ridiculously overpriced messaging, and b: a result of simply better services that are out there, such as anything that does text messages over data, including google voice and that apple messenger thing.

Facebook's total influence on text messaging is probably neutral entirely, due to enabling people to get notifications via text messaging.

Wasn't that the plan? (2)

MarioMax (907837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985367)

I seem to recall something along the lines of Facebook buying out certain companies for the explicit purpose of killing SMS text messaging.

What a choice... (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985375)

On the one hand, a cartel that charges ridiculous prices for messaging. On the other, a service which will not allow you to send messages to users of other services.

Re:What a choice... (4, Interesting)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985495)

Facebook IM is just the gateway drug... As soon as people realize that text messaging should essentially be free, they're just seconds away from installing another IM client on their phone. Most people won't, because they don't need to communicate with anyone outside their Facebook friend list... But the idea should be planted :-)

Re:What a choice... (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985573)

Most people??? You mean realy most people??? It is like this billion accounts is really billion people? You really believe that? It is interesting however - an uniform system of messaging primitive as it is make still more sense to me (but the price) - it is still being replaced by FB and other systems which has an effect that I need to install few other clients on my phone and use it together with SMS. I guess that is what this funny service from Apple is doing right? I suppose Apple patented it so here we go we need to reveal all to FB, pay Apple only because SMS is to expensive and people are too silly and lazy. It is fun to observe the serfdoms being built and maintained....

Re:What a choice... (1)

tirefire (724526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985913)

It's a lot like Aliens vs. Predator (2004): Whoever wins... we lose.

Rediculous markup (5, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985379)

SMS has a ridiculous markup, in the thousands of percent - sorry, telcos, but the gig is up. You've had your free lunch and it's over, how about instead you give us better data options so you can at least make some money out of all these free services?
Face it - SMS and phone calls are a dying business, data is the future so invest in your infrastructure, encourage its use and profit from the fact that nobody's likely to offer free universal data any time soon.

Re:Rediculous markup (4, Insightful)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985503)

actually it's infinity percent markup since SMS costs telcos nothing at all...

Re:Rediculous markup (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985615)

there you go.

I disabled sms on my phone since I refuse to take part of a money theft operation.

telco's take money for something that rides along with the radio signals, used or not!

that bothers me. a lot.

so, I refuse to pay even a dime for sms 'service'.

its actually the biggest con in the game. (shakes head, not quite understanding the draw of this vs universal email that is just about as fast and just as easy to use.)

Moving texts between cell sites (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985641)

SMS costs telcos nothing at all

...to transmit, as text messages are stored in an otherwise unused field of the GSM keep-alive packet. But maintaining the software and backhaul network for moving these 160-byte packets around from one cell site to the next does cost greater than zero.

Re:Moving texts between cell sites (4, Funny)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985679)

let epsilon be greater than zero

Re:Rediculous markup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985651)

Assuming an existing GSM network (and the loss of revenue from people using SMS instead of making voice calls) the cost of SMS is near enough 0. The amount providers (particularly in the US where people may pay to receive texts) have been charging for SMS is obscene. I've been switching over to Skype and iMessage to escape some of my carrier's bullshit.

The investment in equipment and spectrum makes this a difficult industry to get in to, but once in it's a fucking gravy train just so long as carriers can continue to milk SMS, roaming and international calls. Data in particular is looking pretty expensive in some countries, reminding me of ISPs in the early 90s.

Re:Rediculous markup (5, Funny)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985709)

actually it's infinity percent markup since SMS costs telcos nothing at all...

Great, now let's tunnel IP over SMS and get infinite, free data bandwidth

Re:Rediculous markup (3, Insightful)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985723)

Just because SMS piggybacks parts of the cellular network protocol to get from the tower to your device that does not make it free. While I agree it is a cash cow given current pricing in the US you cannot completely ignore the backend and administrative costs of maintaining any large scale, reliable communications protocol. And don't forget the cost storing all those messages for our law enforcement overlords to keep us safe from ourselves.

Re:Rediculous markup (3, Interesting)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985535)

Couldn't agree more, the cash cow of SMS messaging is dying. Now if we can just convince the majority of ISPs that excess data downloads shouldn't be its replacement, that'll be fantastic. My boss just received a $8000 excess data usage bill for his home account... *shakes head*

Re:Rediculous markup (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985665)

While SMS pricing structure may be a cash cow, I really don't think its fair to say it costs them nothing. There may be no (or few) running costs associated with it; however, there are hefty baseline fees with maintaining the structure that is used. Just because they would maintain this anyway is not a reason to allow it to be free. That would be like saying fast food places should have to give away soda because they are makingf all this money on food and the soda doesn't cost them much anyways.

SMS may not be a heavy burden on the towers, but at its time, I think it was reasonable that they charge for each of the services they offered. There are currently smaller carriers that do not charge for SMS or even air time, but they may not have the best coverage area. I think that until the oligopoly of the towers is addressed, there will be little incentive for the larger carriers to find ways to squeeze money out of selected individuals (early adopters, corporations, heavy users of infrastructure).

Re:Rediculous markup (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985801)

Despite my above post, I do actually agree with the opinion that sending and receiving a message does cost a sum of money greater than zero as you have to take into account the cost of building and maintaining the network. So what if it uses a part of the signal that otherwise goes unused, it still costs money to keep that signal broadcasting 24 hours a day, 365.25 days a year. To the guy above who feel's he's being ripped off for this, I wonder if he keeps his home connection running 24/7, or his telephone off the hook 24/7 since he's paying a fixed monthly sum for something that "isn't being used".
Still, whatever it costs is trivial so the markup is obscene. At 1c a message, they'd still make a huge profit and I dare say free services like those in the article would make less of an impact.

Re:Rediculous markup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985857)

That would be like saying fast food places should have to give away soda because they are makingf all this money on food and the soda doesn't cost them much anyways.

I'm not asking them to give away soda, but that is a good comparison. You know the mark-up on fountain soda in fast food joints? Soda is in fact a pretty good money spinner for food joints, both fast food and restaurants. My problem with carriers in some countries is that they're charging a fucking across the board. A colleague found that the cost of data once he goes over his set amount is in fact higher than the limit the EU is about to impose on data roaming. It will be cheaper for him to go a SIM from this same company, but their office in another country, and use that for data than it would be to pay for data used above his allocation. The economics of course don't quite work here, since overall he'd pay more by not having that initial allocation, but really it's crazy the amount we're paying for fucking limited amounts. Typically here 1 gigabyte is in the higher end (which I'll admit is a fair bit of data) and anyone going above that will be paying through the nose.

Carriers do have a shit load of infrastructure to maintain - that I don't doubt. What I do see though are the major carriers showing margins that wouldn't look too bad in the soda industry. Selling airtime isn't as profitable as sugared water, but still damn good margins.

Re:Rediculous markup (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985867)

It's called paying for a service. Does the waitress deserve 20% of the price of a meal because she jotted down an order and filled your cup with water? The service industry charges what the consumer will bare. Not what it actually costs. If you don't like what they are charging then don't go out to eat or use their service. They have no obligation to charge you based on their costs.

Re:Rediculous markup (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985933)

Well done, you've managed to sum up the article even more succinctly than the summary by using an analogy. "If you don't like it, don't use it!" is exactly what's happening here, people are using other, free or cheaper services such as Facebook Messenger instead of SMS. Clap clap for you.

Don't worry about the mobile carriers (5, Interesting)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985399)

They're getting paid. Facebook replaces messaging because people are using it through their smart phone. So they're paying for data plans.

They should get worried if people stop buying data plans.

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985465)

With the fact that the data plans are so small for phones (just doing a round of Windows updates and application updates on a laptop will put me over cap if I had a phone plan dating from 2010 or newer.), the carriers are making in the money even with people that have unlimited texting.

Before I picked up an iPhone, I paid $75 a month. With the iPhone, I easily pay $200/month.

Texting isn't where you will end up being robbed, it is the data plans and the paltry bandwidth quotas.

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985557)

Isn't there a better plan for you to go onto? I get 2gb of data with my $49.95 plan, and the most I've ever used has been 900mb in a month...

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985637)

WTF are you paying there?
I pay € 9.90 for my data plan, 0.09€ per call minute or text message. (Of course I use iMessage/WhatsApp likte in TFA so there's effectively no text messaging cost)
How can you pay $200/month?

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (1)

Barsteward (969998) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985993)

porn is expensive

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (4, Interesting)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985489)

A facebook message consisting of 160 characters would be less than 1kB (amortised). The usual cost of an SMS is between 10c and 25c. 10c per kB equates to $100 per MB.

In other words, telco profit margins on SMS when compared to FB messages are orders of magnitude smaller. It might be even worse, I've heard that SMS messages are sent in some form of "control" packet hence the 160 char limit, meaning that SMS overheads are (somewhat) essential to running the mobile network.

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985505)

X2 the price as you pay for both ways.

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985529)

Not really, in most countries you do not pay for receiving calls or texts.

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (4, Informative)

Paco103 (758133) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985603)

In the US you do. It was accepted on phone calls when cell phones first came out, because the caller does not pay extra to place the call as they do in some countries (if I understand correctly). This was more acceptable since I have the option to not answer a call. With text messages, however, I don't have the option to not get one. In the US, I don't know of any company that doesn't charge for incoming texts, but some do charge less for incoming texts than outgoing.

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (1)

yahwotqa (817672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985815)

Wow, you're getting royally screwed (as if you didn't know already). My condolences.

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986079)

In the US you do. It was accepted on phone calls when cell phones first came out, because the caller does not pay extra to place the call as they do in some countries (if I understand correctly). This was more acceptable since I have the option to not answer a call. With text messages, however, I don't have the option to not get one. In the US, I don't know of any company that doesn't charge for incoming texts, but some do charge less for incoming texts than outgoing.

No, it is all about the numbering plans for cellphones and landlines. Unlike the rest of the planet, in the US cell phones and landlines cannot be determined by telephone number thus US cell carriers decided to charge for incoming calls instead.

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985507)

They don't pay 10 cent / 160 characters of data though ;)

But then again a message on Facebook doesn't use 160 characters of data either ..

Re:Don't worry about the mobile carriers (1)

ehiris (214677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985547)

Data plan markups are getting ridiculous though. All providers except for Spring have data caps on the iPhone. So yeah, AT&T has a history of shitty business practices which require SMS-type markups.

ie the AT&T phone which people paid many times over with lease fees [consumerwa...etwork.com] , monopoly break-up [wikipedia.org] . Small things.

No, they'll hate this for sure. (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985727)

They're getting paid. Facebook replaces messaging because people are using it through their smart phone. So they're paying for data plans.

No way it offsets. Even if you got ass-pounded with some $0.25/MB data charge, that SMS message is less than a kB. We're talking a tenth of a cent of data per SMS at worst, maybe less, for the worst data plan imaginable.

On the other hand, the carriers typically upcharge $10-20 for text plans, or $0.05-0.10 per SMS. SMS plans were definitely their cash cow, and the data used will absolutely not outweigh.

The only way it would make them more money is if people who *wouldn't otherwise have paid for data* did so as an upgrade to text, but I'm thinking the numbers there don't justify the low-cost, high-revenue stream they're losing. I think what happens is that people who want data for a variety of reasons drop text because they realize they don't need it. And I don't think the carriers will like that much.

They definitely want to still have the phone + text + data plans being sold, because it seems like you're getting 3 things instead of 2, so when you get that three-figure cell bill, it might remind consumers just a bit less of sodomy.

Earnings from sms? (3, Interesting)

Ries (765608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985403)

Even the most basic plan (12 dollar/mo, 3 GB data, unlimited sms) in Denmark includes unlimited text messaging.

What? (4, Insightful)

sureshot007 (1406703) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985421)

So, if you have a phone plan that includes unlimited text messages, but don't use them as much now, wouldn't that be ADDING to the teleco's revenue?

Further more, how would a data driven app displace a cellular function??? Text messaging uses less power and resources on my phone. I can text all day long but if have to be connected to the internet to use facebook, I get far less life out of my battery. I don't get why people would prefer a data app over a native cell feature...but that's just me.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985561)

SMS messages are routed over control channels, which in most cases means that there is practically zero additional cost for the carrier.

So, no, the failure to use text messages doesn't change carrier revenue. The failure to extract money makes a lot of difference for carrier revenue... which is what happens if you no longer get a texting plan, or if like me, never had one and stop sending the ~10 messages per month I have been doing.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985563)

why would you need both an unlimited text message plan and an unlimited data plan if your unlimited messages via gtalk or fb or whatever will fit in the unlimited data plan. you're paying telcos for an unnecessary text plan

Re:What? (2)

Paco103 (758133) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985649)

Because it's free. I use Google Voice as my primary number now. Texting would cost me $10/month extra. With Google Voice, I can text all day long for "free" on my included data plan. I get by on the 200MB plan and rarely pass 150MB, even with Trillian for Android on MSN, AOL, Facebook, and Google Talk, Google Voice, and e-mail connected 24/7. Cell phone cost on texting is RIDICULOUS! I have a 900Minute family plan with about 3000 roll over minutes banked, unlimited mobile to mobile, and 200MB data. . . . but they still charge me 10 cents per text message or $10/month, which is outrageous. There should at LEAST be some kind of conversion factor, like 10 text messages per minute, and deduct it from what I'm already paying for. THAT I would accept.

Cutting traffic? (3, Interesting)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985425)

Exactly how is facebook cutting traffic for the carriers? If I send a text message via FB versus the sms application in my phone, are not the same amount of bytes being transferred? Actually, the FB transfer probably uses more traffic.

What is true, though, is that SMS is a private service that the carriers gouge the public on in pricing and they haven't found a way to exploit the user who uses FB for their texting. At least not yet.

Re:Cutting traffic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985609)

If I send a text message via FB versus the sms application in my phone, are not the same amount of bytes being transferred?

Yes (well, maybe) but not in the same way.

SMS is sent in empty sections of the headers of what are essentially "ping" packages. These packages would be sent anyway, with the space used for SMS containing random junk. SMS uses literally zero extra data transfer since it piggybacks on packages that are sent regardless. Facebook, on the other hand, uses a regular data transfer which uses capacity on the network.

No huge chunks in Europe (4, Informative)

Mirvnillith (578191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985427)

In Sweden text messages tend to be free (but only the first 5000 each month) with plans at about $21 a month (this example with 3GB data as well). I know the US is different (recipient paying for text message and such), but there are operators surviving without this huge chunk of revenue ...

Re:No huge chunks in Europe (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985477)

The first 5000?

I can honestly say that I haven't sent 5000 text messages in my entire life.

Re:No huge chunks in Europe (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985549)

When I was in high school (a decade ago), I had a friend who managed to send/receive 14000 text messages in a single month. I have no idea how that is possible, but his parents took away his phone privileges after that.

Re:No huge chunks in Europe (4, Informative)

I_am_Jack (1116205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985575)

Then you weren't a teenage girl with a cell phone. My daughter averages 5200 a month .

Re:No huge chunks in Europe (2)

tirefire (724526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985973)

Wow, that's roughly one text message every 5-6 minutes, assuming 8 hours' sleep per day, along with a 31-day month.

I'm in my early twenties and I feel like I'm getting old. I miss the '90s when people actually spoke to other people in the same room as them. It seems like everyone was more relaxed, or maybe that's just the economy these days, I don't know. But back in the day, if the conversation lulled, someone would change the subject instead of everyone folding their hands in iphone/android prayer until someone found a meme to share.

Re:No huge chunks in Europe (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985991)

What the heck do they talk about so much? 5200 messages a month sounds completely ridiculous!

Re:No huge chunks in Europe (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985645)

Clearly you aren't a teenage girl. I worked with a girl in 2006 who had just graduated high school and was in community college, she would send something like 1200 texts a week. 20 friends x ~15 simultaneous conversations, with all the "lol"s and "wut r u doing?"s and "im bored"s each using their own message, plus response, general drama etc... adds up. I probably sent 1200 "text messages" a week over AIM when I was in high school. It's just that mobile phones didn't exist yet for my age group, nor did their SMS functionality work across networks yet.

Re:No huge chunks in Europe (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985527)

Surviving, but with a smaller yacht for the CEO...

Re:No huge chunks in Europe (2)

Paco103 (758133) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985753)

I'm guessing in Sweden, you also buy your own phones? In my opinion, the biggest problem with the US market is that phones are included with all your plans (at least from the 4 major carriers). I bought my last phone outright. It was the Google Dev Phone 1 (Unlocked TMobile G1). Did I get a discount for providing my own phone? Nope. Should I have, since I didn't have them pay for it for me? Absolutely.

TMobile I believe finally offers a bring-your-own-phone discounted rate, but they also have weaker coverage than AT&T or Verizon. Since carriers mostly provide the phones (even if you buy them outright from them), they control what's on them. They control whether data tethering is enabled (in my opinion, valid when we had unlimited smart phone data plans, but NOT when I have 200MB or 2GB fixed plans. . . then I get to use it how I want). They control what features are available. (My old Motorola Razr had IMAP e-mail disabled by AT&T, even though the phone was fully capable of it). AND they fill your phone with bloatware crap that you can't remove without voiding the warranty.

I wish they'd be split up. Carriers sell service. They have absolutely no control in the phones. THIS would be better for consumers. They can finance a phone to you, but it has a separate, line item charge for a fixed amount of time. It can be included in the same monthly bill, but it needs to be clear on the bill what is for your service and what is for your phone. My mom is now using my old G1, and my dad is using the same Razr he got 5 years ago, shouldn't they be getting discounts since they haven't taken a new phone from the carrier in 5 years?

Imagine if your ISP had deals like this. If you want a computer that can play all the cool games your friends are playing and share pictures with them, you HAVE to go to Windstream, even though they are terrible. Of course, Windstream may not have service in your area, but that's really not their problem is it? You can buy the computer that Windstream sells used on e-bay, or you can buy it directly from Windstream without a contract by paying full price, but it won't work on any other ISP unless you void the warranty and have some technical skills.

Facebook = (2, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985449)

developed by a narcissist for narcissists

Re:Facebook = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985481)

If you believed that you'd post everything as an AC. Instead you feel the need to put the stamp of your 'name' on your thoughts.

Re:Facebook = (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985517)

developed by a narcissist for advertisers, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies (in no particular order)

FTFY

Re:Facebook = (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985845)

I use Facebook more than text messaging, but for only one reason. You can have conversations with more than one person at a time. If text messaging had group conversations, I'd probably never use Facebook for personal communication.

Carriers are lucky (1, Interesting)

Yew2 (1560829) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985471)

Without facebook and others, how many consumers (outside of iPhone holders) really wanted any kind of data plan or could be convinced to pay that extra $20++ a month beyond already high cellular prices? Business users that required mobile email, right? Besides, how many times does someone have to get charged that same $20 a month for texting before they get a plan? We can be wasteful, but when it comes to our cell phones they are usually the first bill that gets paid, even if its at the last minute! If it werent for content management sites like Facebook making it easy and useful for everyday folk to collaborate in a mobile setting then telecom couldnt possibly convince everyday customers to pay so much as they are now "to get my facebook on my phone". Anyone shop for a new plan lately? You can't really get anything from big telecom "with facebook" for less than about $80 a month after all is said and done (except metroPCS, but if you have had them you know you get what you pay for) Sure the markup on texts is something like 5000% but with the absence of truly unlimited data and all these pretty new phones available to everyone, something tells me they will make their numbers. How many texts is $20 a month even with the markup? Now can we help them get more spectrum please?

wait for may 19 / your xmpp day (2)

rzr (898397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985509)

Let me remind about may 19 : http://www.opendiscussionday.org/# [opendiscussionday.org] Time to leave facebook, msn for a open protocol with decentralized network etc -- http://rzr.online.fr/q/xmpp [online.fr]

twitter app? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985531)

I don't text FB or tweet, but wouldn't the destroyer of SMS be the twitter smartphone app, not FB? Isn't twitter via app closer in concept to SMS than FB?

Could be an argument for the FB borg adsorbing everything trivial and mundane, this specifically looking at messaging being adsorbed..

Re:twitter app? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985673)

Twitter is impossibly hard to follow on their website, especially long drawn out conversations, and its not terribly private, which is important in high school drama. SMS is just a poor replacement of instant messenger, but it's already preinstalled on all phones so the barrier to entry is low. FB messenger is also already preinstalled on most phones, as well as any computer with a web browser, and doesn't cost money. It's important to look at SMS as an instant messaging service, not a broadcast web service. All twitter is good for is networking among journalists and celeberty marketing.

What? Why? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985537)

The facebook app is terrible for general messaging.
What is more likely killing texts are apps like whatsapp, kakaotalk, and others like that.
They're generally seamless where facebook is far more intrusive.
not to mention you can more easily send photos and videos with the other apps than you can with facebook.

This is all for idiots anyway, who gives a fuck ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985543)

Text messaging is for children and idiots who cannot afford to talk.

Facebook is for idiots who cannot understand how to socialize
in the real world.

Seriously, this is NOT NEWS.

Data Plans (0)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985551)

They have already replaced SMS with data as the new cash cow. 1Gb for $30? My home ISP gives me 200Gb of data for about $10more. And of course, you generally need data to use Facebook Messenger

Wired has a lot more spectrum (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985681)

Your DSL, cable, or fiber ISP has a lot more spectrum available to it than any cellular carrier because copper and fiber act as waveguides. Therefore, such a wired ISP can provide far more last-mile throughput.

Data Plans.... (1)

Luthair (847766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985553)

Are more expensive than the text messaging plans anyway.

Lisa needs braces. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39986021)

damn I gotta work on this impulse control

Board meeting at carrier (2)

danielcolchete (1088383) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985581)

CEO: Listen everyone, today we will create a service that will charge a hundred times more to send only a few bytes, less than 200 bytes.
Board: But anyone can do it almost for free through the Internet!
CEO: So our true cost here will be to keep the internet from the users as much as possible. We have to use every weapon available: charge too much, give them horrible smartphones, have phone makers in our hands, etc.
Board: Hey, Apple and Google released smartphones allowing anyone to write an app for it.
CEO: Crap! Well, at least we could hold the world on our hands for almost ten years... Shame we lost it...

what proof that fb is a bigger reason than any oth (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985591)

er messaging service?

i would think gtalk being on every single android phone by default is a pretty big reason. as well as things like google voice having free sms. fb messenger seems like one reason, but zdnet just seems to be speculating that it's the biggest reason

Re:what proof that fb is a bigger reason than any (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985691)

I had this conversation with my friend the other day. I noticed most of my friends falling off gtalk, and asked my buddy about it; his response was "well, I still leave gtalk running, but mostly only talk to you and (other good friend) on it. everyone else is on fb messenger these days, in particular girls" which sort of sold me on the idea. Gtalk had critical mass for a few years, but the male:female ratio is about 1:1 on facebook, and most everyone you know on facebook already has the chat app installed either through their web browser, or through the facebook app. Most of my sailing contacts are on gtalk, who are also guys, but as a single male I find myself using fb messenger talking to females a lot more often. gtalk gets use perhaps once a week or so, and keeps getting used less and less.

Par value for txting is #20/mo.and falling (1)

LostCluster2.0 (2637341) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985655)

Text messaging flows through a pipe... that is, in any given area there is plenty of room for more text messages in flow, and the only way the system fails is if there's enough to fill the pipe. Unused bits of airtime are like empty airline seats, they're worth $0 once the time passes. So, does 50 cents a message seem reasonable when e-mail is charged at the data rate which is much cheaper... and AIM,Skype, Google's products, MySpace, Facebool, etc. all also travel over the data pipe? SO, there it is, plain text messaging is going away.... and it's going to be a lot like the old days of Prodigy and AOL where you have to select which protocol to use to reach your friends.

scam (0)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985669)

Good riddance. I could never understand how people fell for the scam of text messages to begin with. Especially when many people got e-mail on their phones and continued to use texts at a couple of cents per pop.

and nothing of value... (3, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985705)

Seriously, the profits the carriers were getting from text messaging were artificial anyway. Surely they realized that. Text messaging uses otherwise unused bandwidth at the cell site and is *way* overpriced for the value received. It was a glitch in the wireless revenue stream that any savvy provider would realize will go away at some point.

Facebook on a wireless device does use up data plan, which can also be expensive, but is orders of magnitude cheaper than texting. It's evolution in action.

I wait with bated breath for the carriers to lobby for protectionist legislation. Perhaps a surcharge on data plans to cover the lost revenue from people abandoning texting.

cost compared to SMS (1)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985891)

I am sure this has nothing to do with the alleged high cost of SMS compared to the cost to Tweet.

AOL Instant Messenger (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39985925)

Are we just going back to AIM?

If they were smart. And greedy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985929)

They'd figure out a way to allow you to post facebook comments over sms. For an additional fee.

If they were smart...

And greedy.

They've got one of those down pretty good.

data plan costs more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39985959)

Huh? With my carrier (US Cellular) a data plan and the smart phone cost more, much more, than my unlimited text-messaging plan with clamshell phone that I have in place now. The carrier would make more money from me if I chose to purchase a smart phone and use facebook messaging instead of text messages. Got some analysis to back up your "huge chunk" claim?

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