Despite the massive popularity of Facebook (FB), WhatsApp and other alternative messaging methods, preliminary global SMS volume figures for Christmas show surprising vigor in 2012. In Belgium, KPN customers delivered a 15% increase in Christmas text-messaging volume. This is particularly interesting since nearby Netherlands is practically ground zero for steep SMS volume decline. Mobistar also reported 5% SMS growth in Belgium. Proximus had the same volume as in 2011. More →
In late July, top Dutch carrier KPN (KPN) reported another grim quarter and slashed its dividend from €0.50 to €0.35. The carrier once again cited steep erosion in text-messaging volumes as a drag on sales and earnings. SMS has been a goldmine for operators over the past decade because the simple mobile phone messaging service yields profit margins greater than 90%. The Dutch operators kept SMS pricing higher than most European markets — and the country is now the ground zero of the SMS volume decline trend. More →
Vonage on Wednesday unveiled a new mobile app for the iPhone and Android smartphones that affords free calling and messaging along with cheap international calling rates. Vonage Mobile allows users to make free “high-definition” voice over IP calls among each other over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G data connections, and low-cost calls can also be placed through the app to any landline or cell phone globally. The New Jersey-based Telco says its international calling rates are 70% lower than rates from major carriers and 30% lower than Skype. ”Vonage Mobile consolidates the best features of our prior applications, while adding important functionality, better value and improved ease of use,” Vonage CEO Marc Lefar said in a statement. “It combines the best of free high-def voice and messaging along with incredible value for traditional international calls, all while using the existing mobile number and address book for unsurpassed ease of use.” Vonage’s full press release follows below. More →
The most popular and successful multi-device communication platform is without question WhatsApp. More of a text messaging replacement than straight BlackBerry Messenger competitor, WhatsApp has been the number one service people rely on to communicate across iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices. We were sent a preview copy of the new version of WhatsApp for BlackBerry smartphones, our exclusive first look is after the break. More →
Tero Kuittinen, a senior analyst for MGI Research recently wrote a column for Forbes in which he noted that text messaging rates are declining in several countries around the globe. The Finnish wireless carrier Sonera, for example, noticed that the number of text messages sent on Christmas Eve 2011 dropped to 8.5 million messages from 10.9 million messages that were sent on the same night a year prior. The decline in text messaging was also recognized in Hong Kong, where it fell off as much as 14%. While sending a text message is still an incredibly popular comunication method, Kuittinen argues that the downward trend could continue to the U.S. and affect AT&T and Verizon later this year or next. “The ambitious new messaging plans and more organic Facebook/Twitter support of both Apple and Google could be the big threat for operator earnings growth in a year or two,” Kuittinen said. “As much as 20% of carrier earnings are derived from text-messaging.” More →
Microsoft is reportedly testing a fix to a Windows Phone SMS security hole that was first discovered by Khaled Salameh earlier this month. “[Microsoft's] Security Team contacted me today, they’ve confirmed the WP7 SMS Bug and found the root cause, a fix is currently under testing,” Salameh tweeted on Wednesday. Here’s how the bug worked: one user could send a text message with a specific string of characters to a Windows Phone device that would automatically reboot the phone and then lock the Windows Phone user out of the Messaging Hub. It is unclear when Microsoft will issue the patch to the public. More →
Microsoft employee Ben Rudolph recently tweeted that any Android phone owner who has a device infected with malware can tweet his or her story with the hashtag #windowsphone upgrade for a chance to win a free Windows Phone. That sounds like an attractive promotion, especially given Microsoft’s fresh batch of powerful and solid Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) devices. Google has reportedly pulled more than 100 malware applications from the Android Market but Microsoft isn’t exactly an anti-malware poster boy itself. In fact, earlier on Tuesday WinRumors posted a story about a security flaw that allows a user to send a text message that automatically reboots any Windows Phone device and then renders the messaging client completely useless. Microsoft hasn’t yet responded to the report and WinRumors, rightly, didn’t explain exactly how the flaw works. A video of the Windows Phone flaw follows after the break. More →
AT&T will stop offering its 1,000 text message package on August 21st and will instead only offer customers a $20 individual unlimited option and a $30 family unlimited plan, Engadget reported on Wednesday. The carrier’s official statement, provided to BGR via email, is as follows:
Starting August 21, we’re streamlining our text messaging plans for new customers and will offer an unlimited plan for individuals for $20 per month and an unlimited plan for families of up to five lines for $30 per month. The vast majority of our messaging customers prefer unlimited plans and with text messaging growth stronger than ever, that number continues to climb among new customers. Existing customers don’t have to change any messaging plan they have today, even when changing handsets.
Customers will still have the option to pay by individual messages at a rate of $0.20 per SMS and $0.30 per MMS, and AT&T has confirmed to BGR that subscribers who wish to ensure they to not incur a la carte messaging fees can call customer care and have messaging blocked on their account. This feature is free, and messaging can be enabled again at any time. More →
T-Mobile giveth, and T-Mobile taketh away. News coming down from T-Mobile enthusiast blog TmoNews suggests that the apple of AT&T’s eye has decided to cancel its “Even More Plus” plan, which never even got off the ground. T-Mobile intended to launch two promotional unlimited plans this week — Even More and Even More Plus — but the Plus plan was apparently cancelled with no explanation. T-Mobile has informed retail locations that they should not offer the plan to customers even if it has already appeared in their systems. Both the $79.99 Even More and the $59.99 Even More Plus plans offered unlimited voice calling, unlimited messaging and unlimited data — with a 2GB soft cap and throttling thereafter — but Even More was for postpaid subscribers while Even More Plus could be had by month-to-month customers. Alas, T-Mobile subscribers will now need a contract in order to get Even More. More →
T-Mobile on Tuesday announced the addition of two new unlimited plans to its portfolio. Dubbed “Even More” and “Even More Plus,” both plans afford subscribers with unlimited nationwide voice calling, unlimited messaging and unlimited data. Both plans also include 2GB soft caps, so customers who go over 2GB in a single billing period will have their data speeds reduced, or throttled, until the next billing period begins. T-Mobile says its 4G smartphone users average about 1GB of data each month. “Consumers today are looking for even more value and flexibility from their wireless plans,” said T-mobile SVP of Marketing, John Clelland, in a statement. “While data plans for many of our competitors continue to be very expensive, T-Mobile is lowering the price of our unlimited plans and offering more options, making it easier than ever for customers to step up to a richer mobile data experience on our 4G network.” The $79.99 Even More plan is available to contract customers while the $59.99 Even More Plus plan is available to customers on a month-to-month basis. Both plans become available for a limited time beginning Wednesday, April 13th. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Intel gathered by blog TmoNews suggests that T-Mobile’s HSPA+, 4G mobile hotspot will be released this Wednesday, April 13th. First seen at CTIA last month, the hostspot will provide connectivity for up to five Wi-Fi enabled device’s on the company’s wireless network. While we don’t know which HSPA+ radio the device will be packing — 21Mbps or 42Mbps — we do know that it will have a built-in VPN client and “optional SMS” support. We snapped a few images of the little, partially-green, Internet throwing machine (that wouldn’t power on) on the CTIA showroom floor. Have a look for yourself.