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Instant Messaging Services Are pushing Out Text Messages

The immense popularity of instant messaging services like the BlackBerry Messenger is affecting the volumes of text messages sent by young cellphone users, according to a report on the The Financial Times (opens in new tab).

Research consultancy firm Mobile Youth claims that text or SMS volumes will decline by as much as 20 percent in the UK, Brazil, South America and Indonesia in the next two years. These are only a few of the regions where RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger service is highly popular.

According to Research in Motion, the BBM instant messaging client, which comes in-built with all the BlackBerry phones, is used by more than 39 million people worldwide, although it has yet to find widespread use in the US, where it seen primarily as a service for business people.

Users have to pay a tariff for sending text messages, but IM services like BBM, WhatsApp and Beluga are virtually free of charge for smartphone and BlackBerry users. Facebook and Twitter have also partially supplanted the need to communicate via text message, though these services do require a data plan to access though a smartphone.

Text messages have been a strong source of revenue for wireless carriers for years and the boom in instant messaging could seriously hit their bottom line in the years to come.