Text messaging and voice mail are old and bursting technologies that should be replaced by new alternatives? We are led to believe, for example, that companies have largely abandoned SMS in favour of team collaboration tools such as Slack And while it is true that the number of SMS messages peaked in 2011, when 2.3 billion messages were sent in the United States, SMS activity is still huge.

This misconception about collaboration tools is exposed by the numbers. Everyone with a mobile phone, of course, has access to SMS but not the other way around. Slack has only 4 million active paid users. About 3 billion people have access to SMS. That means that 99% of the people who have SMS are not Slack users.

RCS has not made SMS obsolete

It is true that Google has become more aggressive lately promoting Rich Communication Services (RCS) – referred to as “Chat” – as a replacement for SMS. Messages sent through RCS using the Android’s Google Message app, for example, are called “chat messages”. The chat service is provided by operators using the RCS standards, but works much like messaging application services. For example, you can send messages over Wi-Fi.

However, this functionality clashes with the obvious fact that Wi-Fi (or data) based messaging platforms (Whatsapp, Telegram or Wechat) are universally implemented and with the fact that it is a system that is not sufficiently explained to users and no one knows whether the messages will cost money or not.

Where is SMS succeeding?

SMS remains an extremely powerful medium for business. One way in which the use of SMS has expanded and become more flexible is that it is no longer exclusive to mobile phones, but can be easily managed from computers (that is, A2P, Application-to-person messaging).

Companies are using SMS to break up email and application notification fatigue. And SMS marketing continues to work, with approximately 82% of all smartphone users surveyed saying they open all SMS sent to them, while email open rates remain in single-digit percentages.

SMS have the highest readability of any digital communication channel, with more than 90 percent of text messages being read within three minutes of being received.

And where is SMS essential?

But if anything has given new life to the SMS, it has been the application-integrated validation systems. They consist of messages sent by apps via SMS to make sure that the number used to register is true by sending a message to precisely that number because all mobile phones support SMS regardless of the operating system they work with or the applications they have installed.
The most popular case of these applications is the confirmation message that arrives to the mobile phone to install Whatsapp because the account of that application is linked to a phone number, not to an email or a social network account.

Even in countries where it is necessary to present proof of identity in order to have a new phone line, banks are using SMS to verify card payment operations when payments are made over certain amounts or in countries other than where the cardholder lives.

Some public institutions even notify their decisions by SMS as they ask for a mobile phone number to be able to carry out some procedures online.

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