Almost Half Of Us Are Using Text Message Alternative Apps

Almost Half Of Us Are Using Text Message Alternative Apps

Text messages are handy, but unless you’re on an unlimited plan you’ll pay for every one you send. So it’s unsurprising that a study by Analysys Mason suggests that 45 per cent of smartphone owners use an alternative messaging service as well.

Picture by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

The study is based on monitoring of 1000 phones in Europe, but I’d be surprised if a similar pattern wasn’t also evident in Australia. Whether you’re using an option built into your phone platform (such as iMessage or BBM) or a separate platform such as WhatsApp or Viber, being able to send messages without worrying about the cost can be useful.

That doesn’t mean text messaging is disappearing; 97 per cent of those in the study also used regular texting as well. Given that you can send an SMS to anyone with a mobile but have to persuade friends and family to use a specific app, that’s not altogether surprising. Just 1.7 per cent of those in the study had stopped using SMS altogether.

Caution is always advised with apps that use your data allowance. If you don’t have a particularly generous data allocation, the cost of using a ‘free’ app can accumulate, especially if you’re on a contract. Using messaging apps across Wi-Fi is a safer alternative.

Have you shifted your messaging from texting to other apps? Tell us (and tell us why) in the comments.

Analysys Mason


  • I use Whatsapp extensively, mostly because data is a lot more plentiful on my plan than SMS and MMS and also because it unifies Emoji – for example WP7.5 can read the emoji built into Android and iPhone but iPhone can’t properly interpret WP7.5’s SMS emoji. On Whatsapp, everyone’s using the same set of emoji, which means you can play Connect 4 without needing an app for that!

    Yes, I did this with my sisters last night (both using Androids, me with a Lumia) and it was awesome!!

    • I have to agree! Whatsapp has fantastic phone integration on Nokia, iPhone and Blackberry (the phones I’ve used it on). As a simple replacement for SMS it’s great, but as a replacement for BBM and iMessage it’s amazing because it’s available across all platforms….

      I have to admit that I was hesitant to sign up at first. Simply because it was yet another chat client. The only regret I’ve had since installing it, was not having done it sooner.

      • Another great feature….. When you’re travelling abroad, simply pop in a local prepaid sim card (to save on data costs and make use of the cheaper local calls etc OR use WIFI) but still stay in touch with your contacts via whatsapp on your regular number…. No need to let everybody know that you’ll temporarily be available on a new number. No international charges for text or MMS when you send photos and brag to everybody back home….

  • i guess it depends on what plan you are on…. I couldnt care less for these messaging apps, easy enough to just sms someone and its all included in my plan so there is no cost benefit either as i would be paying for my mobile service regardless

  • If used sensibly it should not be a problem. However some idiots conduct a ten response conversation that could probably be resolved inside a minute if they just made the phone call !

  • on top of iMessage, I have Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Viber on my phone (and although it’s not text messaging, I also use HeyTell, which is still for messaging so worth a mention). I don’t really use Whatsapp or Viber anymore, I just have a couple of friends who prefer them and I keep it there just in case others start using it.

    My plan I got my iPhone 4S on has unlimited SMS so I originally turned iMessage off, however it doesn’t really use much data, and the benefits (delivery reports, group messages etc) were worth turning it back on. I’ve never come close to reaching my data cap even with all my Facebook, YouTube & Instagram usage etc.

    • That is true but I personally use Whatsapp as it’s offer much better features and is allot faster then traditional SMS’s… Some of the features I use often include things such as:
      – Live Group chat
      – Picture sharing/notification (old school was MMS which is not included in allot of plans)
      – Very easy GPS location sharing when on holiday and meeting up with friends/work partners
      – Contact sharing and easy import and selective items/details to share
      – You can also share Audio and video (but I personally have not used it allot but have a few times).

      So there is some great features and Whatsapp seems to use very little data for texts and of cause for images it uses more but automatic resizes and reduces to save bandwidth so it’s really quick and easy to use as a no brainier type of app.

      Give it a try you might actually find it very useful.

      P.S. It will search your contact list and automatic add/show you any of your friends/contacts that already have it installed (based on there mobile number)…


  • I haven’t started using anything else because there’s no real standard. I could have half a dozen messaging apps installed and running for talking to different people, or I could… use SMS.

    The closest I’ve got to a replacement is email, but that’s still hard to rely on if you want the immediacy of SMS.

  • I mostly just use text messages or, if I don’t have their number, Facebook Messenger. I don’t really see the point of using yet another IM program (because that’s all they are really) just for my phone. Plus, I never use all my included credit anyway.

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