Do You Use A Free App to Text?

WhatsApp iPhone and BlackBerryAustralians are increasingly using free apps to send text, picture and video messages and make calls – with savings over $100 in value a month for heavy texters – raising the question of whether telcos are becoming merely a “conduit” for smartphone makers and app designers.

Apple will hurry this shift along this week with the release of a new free messaging service for iPhone owners, called iMessage. But carriers, for their part, say SMS is still going strong. But is it?

Email and other electronic communication on smartphones is now virtually free, making it more difficult to justify charges of 25c per SMS and more for picture messages. Telstra charges 75c to send texts overseas.

Many are choosing to avoid these charges by using apps such as What’s App, Facebook messenger, Skype, Voxer, Windows Live messenger, Viber and Bump. These are largely used for sending text, picture and video messages but Skype, for instance, can be used for making calls.

Telsyte says 44% of Aussie smartphone users have free messaging apps. And SMS traffic growth fell from 15% to 5% between 2009-2010. Will this number continue to fall? We believe so.

Do you use a free text messaging service? Which one? Why? And if not, then why not?

Read more here.