Downward trend in carrier messaging to continue
For the first time in years, US text messaging was down in the third quarter of 2012, largely due to services such as iMessage. According to mobile analyst Chetan Sharma, users sent an average of 678 texts per month, down from 696 the previous quarter. While only a small change, the move reflects a shift primarily among smartphone users to services such as iMessage and Facebook Messenger as alternatives to traditional carrier-based SMS. Though many modern cell phone plans feature unlimited messaging, SMS is still a major profit driver for most carriers.
Commission responds to public outcry
The Federal Communication Commission has moved to tighten regulations that restrict telemarketers from contacting individuals through unwanted calls or text messages. The FCC's telemarketing rules (PDF) now require companies to obtain written consent from consumers before placing calls, while text messaging and voice calls are now covered under the same regulations.
Service restored after second interruption
Sprint appears to have resolved a network problem that had prevented many of the carrier's subscribers from sending text messages. The official Sprint Care Twitter feed was briefly filled with responses to inquiries from affected customers, though it remains unclear if the outages were widespread or limited to select regions.
"Objectionable" content could be blocked
Apple has been granted a patent that extends the company's existing Parental Controls for iOS devices into the various text messaging and email apps that ship with those devices, allowing certain content to be filtered based on pre-defined criteria. Interestingly, the patent also covers the possibility of requiring, rather than blocking, certain words.
Government will not take action
The Justice Department has finally completed its investigation over text messaging fees charged by carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile, according to the Wall Street Journal. Industry and government officials familiar with the matter claim the Department's antitrust division has decided not to intervene, effectively leaving the carriers to continue business as usual.
iPhone users access media
M:Metrics, a mobile metrics research group, has found the iPhone to be the great game-changer for the wireless industry, saying that it effectively lives up to the hype surrounding the device. Mark Donovan, senior analyst for M:Metrics, said that the iPhone is "compelling consumers to interact with the mobile web," citing "off-the-charts" usage for tasks including text messaging and mobile video. The firm's figures show that 85-percent of all iPhone users access news and other remote information during January.
T-Mobile class action suit
T-Mobile USA is currently the target of a class action suit regarding customers that have no interest in text messaging but are still being charged for the service. According to RCRWireless News, the company requires that users have a text message plan, lest they be charged for even unsolicited text messages. Users that do not have any use for text messaging have formed a class action suit, citing that T-Mobile USA is engaging in a wrongful business scheme, supposedly designed to cheat a large number of users out of small sums of money.