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Sounds of Silence

The world is a quieter place with wireless messaging.

This story appears in the March 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Walk down a street in Paris or Madrid these days, and you see them everywhere: teens hunched over their mobile phones, pecking away for minutes at a stretch without ever making a call. With the advent of short messaging system (SMS) services available through Europe's GSM-based networks, mobile text messaging usage has skyrocketed. According to research firm The Yankee Group, in some European countries, more than 60 percent of subscribers regularly use SMS services, contributing about 10 percent of carrier revenues. No wonder wireless carriers are rushing to deliver messaging services in the States.

AT&T, Nextel and VoiceStream Wireless have all introduced two-way messaging services. Meanwhile, handheld vendors from Palm to Microsoft are readying messaging services, following the lead of Research In Motion's BlackBerry PDA.

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