Text Messaging turned 20 years old yesterday.
From the Economist
ON DECEMBER 3rd 1992 a young Vodafone engineer wished his boss "Merry Christmas" by SMS (short message service). This is widely regarded as the first ever text. (Tapping out 07734 on a calculator, turning it upside down and handing it to someone does not count.) Since then, texting has become a global phenomenon, growing particularly rapidly in the early-noughties when America finally embraced the medium and Chinese mobile subscriptions took off. According to Portio Research, a market-research firm, 7.8 trillion text messages were sent in 2011 and the number is expected to increase. The growth of social networks in recent years such as Facebook and Twitter (based on the SMS format) and services such as BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp (which offer free or cheap texts) are seen to herald the death of SMS. Portio predicts a decline in texting around 2016 as the mobile market reaches saturation and rival systems become more popular. Yet for the moment, people's thumbs continue to peck at the fingerpad to send texts, as the number of mobile subscribers worldwide continues to grow.
The Philippines still holds the tiara as the “text capital of the world” in 2012. In 2009, 1.39 billion SMS messages were sent daily. This must be alot more today.
Never mind, if text messaging can make people stupid. The point is that SMS provides the public a cheap and convenient way to connect socially and that the growth rate, prompted for by the free markets, has been stupendous.
As for the reigning world champions, the Filipino texters, unfortunately, the government who pretends to care about the public, wishes to increase the cost of texting through higher taxes and by charging needless penalties by arbitrarily discrediting the industry. This would mean lesser connectivity, especially for the underprivileged. On the other hand, this means the Philippines will likely lose its title of being the world's text capital.
The proposed SMS taxes and penalties to be slapped on the industry has been designed to forcibly redistribute funds to the incumbent populist political class who promotes spending by them as the magical path to prosperity. In reality, it is only the political class, their allies and cronies, who will be the major beneficiaries from such political programs.