The new “iPad mini” will be the star of today’s Apple event. But beyond the hype, there’s one important announcement you probably missed: iMessage, which allows customers to send free messages over Wi-fi and 3G connections, has been incredibly successful. Since it launched last year, customers have sent 300 billion messages, or at a rate of 28,000 per second.
The move from SMS to free mobile messaging means that mobile carriers have had to reinvent their business model, which used to make big profits by separating data plans from mobile messaging plans. Research firm Ovum estimated that use of internet-based messaging had cost carriers some $13.9 billion in SMS revenue in 2011 alone.
Verizon finally eliminated unlimited data plans, forcing users to pay for a certain volume of data and charge them fees when they exceeded the limit. They call the new plans “Share Everything,” but that’s really a fancy way of making you pay more for your data. As my colleague Matt Phillips reports, it’s also allowing Verizon to charge customers new fees—they boasted that the new plan has made money by charging customers activation fees to connect new devices to their data plans.