Will Chat Apps Like Whatsapp, BBM & 2GO Kill SMS In Nigeria?

Recently on BBC news, I saw the statistics on American mobile users’ preference for instant messaging chat apps like Whatsapp, Apple iMessage over traditional text messaging.

According to BBC News’ report, it was estimated that in 2012:
• 19 billion instant messages were sent via Whatsapp, Apple iMessage, blackberry messenger etc.
• 17.6 billion SMS/text messages via bulk SMS gateway providers and GSM networks.
• $23 billion dollars worth of SMS revenue was lost by SMS and/or text message providers.

This got me thinking about the latest trend in Nigeria. I noticed that Whatsapp, Blackberry messenger, 2GO chat, has gained popularity amongst Nigerian smartphone users (mostly youths). Everywhere I went, friends and colleagues kept asking for either my Blackberry pin, 2Go chat ID or my Whatsapp phone number.

I came to realize that the reason for this instant messaging growing popularity in Nigeria is due to the following facts:

• It’s free: Although Whatsapp charges $0.99 USD dollars after the first year.

• It’s interactive: You can communicate with 1 or more people at the same time and in real-time too.

• Gives instant feedback: You can find out how many people are available on chat.

• It’s personal: unlike normal SMS, you don’t get bombarded by unwanted sales-y messages fr0m marketers (for now though).

What do you think?
Will text messaging eventually die in Nigeria? Will millions of Nigerian bulk SMS providers lose their income? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please sound off your comments in the box below.

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