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A series of new mobile messaging services are emerging to challenge classic SMS Services. Among them are some of the giants of the industry including Apple, Facebook and Google.
While a service like iMessage, Blackberry Messenger or Facebook Messenger may have their limitations, they enjoy a clear advantage which is they are free. Why? Because they rely on an internet connection rather than a per-message charge.
A lot of people are predicting the end of carrier SMS systems because of these IP messaging services. But these predictions are most probably premature for the reason that SMS still has advantages that IP services just can’t match.
For example, SMS is ubiquitous. Every phone can receive a text message from any one. Facebook, while mindboggling big, cannot insure that every mobile device has Facebook Messenger. iPhone subscribers can reach other iPhone subscribers through iMessage. Blackberry can talk to other Blackberry owners through BBM but neither system has the scope of a traditional SMS.
Second, SMS is highly reliable. An IP service of course relies on the quality of the internet connection. Obviously, signal strength is dependent on how much traffic there is on the network. On the other hand, SMS runs on a dedicated signaling channel, so it will get through no matter what. Essentially, SMS is always on and it works on every phone. It will be a very long time before a Google messaging or Facebook messaging service will be able to catch up with that reliability