With more phones becoming app-based, a number of telecom companies have cried foul in the past few months claiming that SMS apps are eating into their profits.
One startup, Cnectd a multimedia SMS platform that is currently available on the Android platform and was launched by Lawrence Bernard in South Africa, has delved into the SMS app market.
According to Google Play, the application has received over 50,000 downloads since its launch in the app store, as of June 2012.
Cnectd lets users manage contacts via Facebook, share their location, send images, organize contacts into groups, and receive delivery and read notifications.
Cnectd is one of the apps that have recently gotten into the African developer showcase by Google.
As more SMS apps debut on most smartphones, telecoms are complaining that these apps might eat into their profits. This is similar to the entry of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) that threatened to take away returns from voice service from telecom companies.
Nation.co.ke reported that application such as WhatsApp has done much damage by giving users a free option to send text messages to their contacts. It is however their extra features that appeal to users.
A case study in Netherlands shows much of the effect of these free to message apps.
“Dutch telecom operator, KPN has publicly cited WhatsApp as one major reason for the Dutch decline in text-messaging volumes. Recently, the operator attempted to levy an extra charge for WhatsApp users, only to be slapped down by the Dutch parliament,” Boy Genius Report says.
The “dangers” of sms apps like Cnectd and WhatsApp is that they offer the user a richer experience other than the dull black and white traditional text messages. They give users opportunity like group texting and file sharing options.
There is however an argument that “when users use apps like WhatsApp, then they still use telecom operator’s internet charge for data.” This is one way telecoms can leverage the effect of such apps.
Other similar apps that have managed to get user’s attention include RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger, Apple’s iMessage, and Facebook Messenger.