Text messaging is most often used between private mobile phone users, as a substitute for voice calls in situations where voice communication is impossible or undesirable. In some regions, text messaging is significantly cheaper than placing a phone call to another mobile phone; elsewhere, text messaging is popular despite the negligible cost of voice calls.
Some text messages such as SMS can also be used for the remote controlling of appliances. It is widely used in domotics systems. Some amateurs have also built own systems to control (some of) their appliances via SMS.
A Flash SMS is a type of text message that appears directly on the main screen without user interaction and is not automatically stored in the inbox. It can be useful in cases such as an emergency (e.g. fire alarm) or confidentiality (e.g. one-time password).
Short message services are developing very rapidly throughout the world.
SMS is particularly popular in Europe, Asia (excluding Japan; see below), United States, Australia and New Zealand and is also gaining influence in Africa. Popularity has grown to a sufficient extent that the term texting (used as a verb meaning the act of mobile phone users sending short messages back and forth) has entered the common lexicon. Young Asians consider SMS as the most popular mobile phone application. Fifty percent of American teens send fifty text messages or more per day, making it their most frequent form of communication.
In China, SMS is very popular and has brought service providers significant profit (18 billion short messages were sent in 2001). It is a very influential and powerful tool in the Philippines, where the average user sends 10–12 text messages a day. The Philippines alone sends on the average 400 million text messages a day, or approximately 142 billion text messages sent a year, more than the annual average SMS volume of the countries in Europe, and even China and India. SMS is hugely popular in India, where youngsters often exchange lots of text messages, and companies provide alerts, infotainment, news, cricket scores updates, railway/airline booking, mobile billing, and banking services on SMS.
Texting became popular in the Philippines in 1998. In 2001, text messaging played an important role in deposing former Philippine president Joseph Estrada. Similarly, in 2008, text messaging played a primary role in the implication of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in an SMS sex scandal.
Short messages are particularly popular among young urbanites. In many markets, the service is comparatively cheap. For example, in Australia, a message typically costs between A$0.20 and $0.25 to send (some prepaid services charge $0.01 between their own phones), compared with a voice call, which costs somewhere between $0.40 and $2.00 per minute (commonly charged in half-minute blocks). Despite the low cost to the consumer, the service is enormously profitable to the service providers. At a typical length of only 190 bytes (including protocol overhead), more than 350 of these messages per minute can be transmitted at the same data rate as a usual voice call (9 kbit/s). There are also free SMS services available, which are often sponsored and allow sending SMS from a PC connected to the internet.
Mobile service providers in New Zealand, such as Vodafone and Telecom NZ, provide up to 2000 SMS messages for NZ$10 per month. Users on these plans send on average 1500 SMS messages every month.
Text messaging has become so popular that advertising agencies and advertisers are now jumping into the text messaging business. Services that provide bulk text message sending are also becoming a popular way for clubs, associations, and advertisers to reach a group of opt-in subscribers quickly.
Read more about this topic: Text Messaging
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