In the Philippines, almost every Filipino owns a cellphone and text messaging has become a part of their daily lives. They use it to say something urgent, engage in a small chat, send a joke, give a short inspirational advice, or simply leave a reminder.
The increased use of SMS among Filipinos started when GSM cellular phones were launched in the country. Unlike analogue-based cellular phones, GSM phones are capable of sending SMS. The very first offers were in the form of postpaid plans bundled with free texts without network restrictions. Sending of SMS then became a huge hit in the Philippine market, almost replacing telephones and pagers. But due to very high demand, the free SMS privileges have been lowered by local telecommunications companies. Prepaid messaging became a popular choice among Filipino cellular phone users of all ages. This gave rise to people forwarding text messages and SMS quotes ranging from inspirational advice, jokes to love messages.
But despite the availability of voice calls, email and IMs, why text messaging still remains as the most preferred means of communication in the Philippines?
If we were to compare text messaging to voice calls, text messaging is quicker and cheaper. As a matter of fact, a text message that contains 160 characters costs only one peso, whereas a voice call costs around 8 pesos per minute. It is also less expensive to send the same message to a few friends rather than call them individually. In this way, text messaging saves time as well.
If we were to compare text messaging to email, text messaging is more accessible. Its easier to just send a message using a cellphone than have to login to a computer with Internet access just to send an email. They are still required to connect to the Internet, log in, and only then can the email message be sent. But with texting, it only requires a minute or so to text with just one simple press on the Send button.
If we were to compare text messaging to IM (instant messaging), text messaging is cheaper. IMs became popular when they were integrated in mobile devices. However, the cost equivalent turns people off from primarily using IMs. For every KB the charge is rather high. Telecommunication companies charge a lot for longer chats. But with text messaging, the bill is markedly low. You only need a mobile phone with an unlimited text package and you can chat with your friends all day.
Each of the following mediums: voice calls, email and IMs are still relevant, each serving their own purpose. But if we are talking about the cheapest, fastest, and wireless way to communicate, it will definitely be text messaging. It’s a quick and easy way to send a message across the country, wirelessly.