$100 billion. That’s an estimate of how much the world’s 3.3 billion cellphone users spent to send 1.7 trillion text messages last year—more than Hollywood’s worldwide box-office receipts, global music sales, and U.S. video-game and PC-game sales combined.
In fact, those movie, music, and gaming revenues will come to only about half the US $130 billion that short message service (SMS) will bring in this year, according to the market research firm Informa Telecoms & Media.
The United States came late to the SMS revolution, but with a fourfold increase in the past two years, its total texting now puts it second only to China. But the country second to none in its fervor to text is the Philippines. Last year, Filipinos sent 155 billion messages. That’s more than four messages per day for every man, woman, child, and baby. Filipinos embraced messaging during the political protests of the late 1990s, because it was then the only unmonitored form of communication.
Acision, an SMS service provider in the Netherlands that handles about two-thirds of the world’s text messages each year, has noticed a generally ”eastward wave of adoption from the UK to Scandinavia to Western Europe, then Eastern Europe, Asia, and finally the Americas. Europe SMS traffic has peaked, Asia is near its peak, and America will be peaking in a couple of years.”