USA Surpasses Philippines as the “Text Messaging Capital of the World”

If you still believe that old saying that the Philippines is the “Text Messaging Capital of the World” you might also be believing the country’s old press releases – like the Philippines is the “Friendster Capital of the World” which is about as outdated today as referring to us as the “Pearl of the Orient.”

For at least the second time since the end of the Philippine-American war in 1902, the USA has kicked our butts – this time in the text messaging arena.

In a new report by wireless industry analyst Chetan Sarma, it was observed that American wireless consumers now text at a rate of 664 messages per subscriber/ per month, surpassing the Philippines.

US unseated Philippines as the king of TXT messaging with almost 664 messages/sub/month compared to Philippines which is seeing a sharp decline in per user messaging due to IP messaging. Some of the European operators are also experiencing the pain of declining SMS usage.

The report was also quoted in the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D blog in a recent report on a price increase in AT&T messaging plans.

The Chetan Sarma study fails to spell out exactly what is the current rate of Philippine text messaging in the Philippines.  However, we do have a clue from a recent infographic on text messaging trends posted on Mashable back in 2009.

In this table, as of 2009, the Philippines had 600 texts per subscriber per month. The USA had 420.

What about 2011? It is highly unlikely that Philippine usage of SMS has increased since 2009. All local mobile operators have pointed out to a decline in text messaging use, generally blaming a shift toward instant messaging and social media like Facebook. This is in spite of new packages and unlimited SMS offers.

So by that yardstick, the US rate of 664 texts per sub per month clearly whups our ass.

While text messaging is obviously in decline in the Philippines, the Americans are really getting into it.

But if there’s any consolation, US text messaging rates are still exorbitantly expensive compared to the Philippines.

The All Things D report on AT&T price increases notes that as of August 21, 2011 – the AT&T unlimited text messaging plan for individuals is $20 a month. For a family plan of up to 5 lines, this is $30/month – and this is on top of the basic postpaid “calling” plan. If you opt for a pay-as-you go rate, you pay 20 cents per SMS. And remember that in the US, you pay the same rate to receive a message as you do to send, Sending out an SMS is no cheap thrill in America.

As for MMS, their pay-as-you go rate is $0.30 per MMS.

As far as text messaging goes, it’s hardly a party in the USA.


4 thoughts on “USA Surpasses Philippines as the “Text Messaging Capital of the World”

  1. “All local mobile operators have pointed out to a decline in text messaging use, generally blaming a shift toward instant messaging and social media like Facebook.”

    It would be interesting to see a study pitting PH-vs-US instant messaging and social media usage. If we take that area, I guess it would indicate that, contrary to popular belief, we are the trend setters. LOL.

    1. The Philippines *is* the trend setter – it held the SMS champ crown for about a decade, it’s only now that Americans have incorporated SMS into the mainstream. The US still leads in smartphone adoption though.

  2. The terminology “TXT” or “TXTing” even originated from us. I remember back in the days when txting was new (and it was free to send txt worldwide), whenever I share numbers with my online friends they call it “SMS”. They don’t even agree with “txting” after I explained it to them.

    But a some years ago we started seeing them using our TXTing terminology. I can still remember the conversation we had re: “TXT” vs. “SMS” 😉

    I agree that we are the trend setter.

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