Yesterday John Gruber linked to an article over at the New York Times, which stated that Facebook's messaging system, Apple's iMessage and similar services are slowly reducing the usage of SMS around the world. He said:
It’s hard to think of a technology that more deserves to die than SMS.
I have to disagree with that. SMS might be a limited standard in terms of what can be transferred, and as the link in Gruber's quote shows, the average cost for a SMS is incredibly high in the U.S.A. (even more so over here in Germany). Still, the service is useful, because 1. it is universally compatible with almost all types of cellular networks around the world and 2. because it's fairly reliable due to the fact that it works when a data connection (needed to send any kind of email, iMessage, Facebook message, etc.) cannot be established. More info on SMS here.
The problem is—as it is so often—greed by the carriers. A simple network-inherent, ubiquitous functionality is marketed and sold at a premium, with nearly no price decline over the last ten years.
SMS doesn't need to die, carriers should just stop charging customers for a fairly limited service that costs them close to nothing.