Why carriers are NOT happy about iMessages

Posted In iPhone - By Sean On Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 With 0 Comments

Imessage

One of the fun new features of iOS 5 is iMessages. A great way to message people that may or may not have iPhones or texting plans. For year now, top apps for iPod touch user have been apps that allow the user to ‘text’ from the device. This functionality of the iPod touch and the iPad have been lacking in recent times. With the ability to yes, text other users, there was no real standard for this kind of service, and certainly it became difficult to keep track of all your fake phone numbers that were actually your iPod touch or iPad. iMessages happily steps up to the plate.

BlackBerry users are familiar with the kind of functionality that Apple introduced this past Monday. BlackBerry Messenger; or BBM, has been a function of RIM devices for some time now. The ability to, for free, message others using the same type of device you were using was something that attracted a lot of people to BlackBerry. Not necessarily having to pay for a texting plan, or having the ability to downgrade because of this ability was something that kept RIM users, RIM users. While there has always been the undertone of people wanting to have some similar functionality, there has never been a real outcry for it. BlackBerry users were the only ones with this kind of service and it never really bothered anyone. iMessages seems to really come out of left field.

There is a stark difference between BBM and iMessages however. The difference is so critical, that carriers of the iPhone are not happy about it at all. The implementation of the new system will truly hurt text message profits for the first time. The difference is in how users access iMessages. WIth BBM, you download the app, and if you want, you can find your friends PIN numbers and contact them through that application. It is a separate from texting. BBM is more of an IM client, while texting was, well, texting. iMessages does not function like this. When you open up your “Messages” application that iOS users are familiar with, and you go to compose a message to someone from your contact list, iMessage quietly and quickly scans the number to see if it is a iOS user. If the scan comes back successful and the user is an iOS user, then the message that you create is automatically an iMessage and NOT a text. The message is sent over data or wifi rather than in the missing 160 bits of data in the cell phone airwave. This completely bypasses the charge of a text message. Of course, if the scan finds that they are in fact not an iOS user, then it sends a normal text message. This is all done without the user being too aware of it happening. The only indication of something being different is a color switch. Text message bubbles are green, while they change to blue if it is an iMessage. That is really the only difference that the user would notice, that and a dramatic decrease in how many texts they use every month. Especially with the plenitude of iOS users out there.

The difference in implementation is really what has carriers up in arms. This change will surely lower their profits from texting packages. While the utility is really a win-win for the users, it is a detriment to the carriers. There are really only two questions that remain, will the carriers retaliate with raising prices somewhere else or ask Apple to change something? And, are you going to be changing your texting plan in the near future? I know for myself, I still have too many friends who have not made the conversion yet, but I can sense in the near future, that will not be as much of a problem.

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