New figures from Informa Telecoms & Media expect twice as many over-the-top instant messages as SMS text messages to be sent between mobile phone users this year.
It says an average of 19.1 billion OTT messages were sent from smartphone apps each day in 2012, compared with an average of 17.6 billion person-to-person SMS messages. Those figures are expected to reach 41 billion daily OTT messages by the end of 2013, compared with an average of 19.5 billion P2P SMS messages.
There are still many more SMS users than instant messaging users, yet OTT users are sending more than six times as many messages as SMS users. About 3.5 billion people used P2P SMS in 2012 compared with about 586.3 million OTT messaging users. Each OTT user sent an average of 32.6 OTT messages a day, compared with an average of 5 SMS messages per day.
Instant messaging programs such as AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ have been available for over 15 years, although most mobile users have adopted these services much more recently. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was launched in 2007, while WhatsApp was founded in 2009.