More than eight trillion text messages were sent last year, still clocking 15 million per minute, but users are now thumbing messages via a wide variety of free apps and social media platforms.
It took seven years for SMS to reach the mainstream, coinciding with the growing popularity of mobile phones and spawned the sub-language of 'text speak' contractions and acronyms such as L8R (later), LOL (laughing out loud) and IDK (I don't know).
With declining SMS revenues phone companies have been able to turn their attention to mobile advertising and, while not charging users per message, can levy profits from data charges and lucrative app sales.
Despite these trends SMS is still alive and well in Mena, which has one of the highest mobile penetration rates at 96%, yet a below average smartphone uptake at just over 6% - essentially meaning a huge amount of users rely on traditional text messaging.
Facebook rumoured to acquire Whatsapp messenger
With Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently turning his attention to mobile, rumours are abounding that the social media giant is eyeing the runaway messaging app, which alone is clocking 10 billion messages daily - up from one billion just 12 months ago.
Zuckerberg told BusinessWeek that mobile is 'obviously' the next big thing, since 5 billion people in the world have phones, and Facebook have already begun talks with Whatsapp, according to TechCrunch, citing sources close to the matter. No figures or timeline has been revealed.
The app-makers are currently hiring Arabic translators to boost the service in the Mena region, as well as other markets.