Consider this anomaly: Ecuador, with a per capita GDP of $4,300, has the United States beat when it comes to a critical wireless technology. Americans may be 10 times as wealthy, but Ecuadorians send four times as many text messages.
The opportunities start with understanding economic and cultural factors that drive usage. Pay-as-you-go cell-phone plans offered abroad encourage text-message use, as does the fact that in most countries, fewer people own PCs on which to send instant messages and e-mail.
… The overseas ardor for SMS is not a quirk Instead, it’s a leading indicator of what will happen in the United States. Rather than substituting for PC-based communication, as it does in poorer countries, mobile messaging Stateside will untether commerce, social networks, and other applications originally tied to PCs. When smart innovators translate services originated abroad to America’s cell phones, we’ll really get the message.