The habit of traditional SMS-messaging among Americans has slowed for the first time ever, a new study has suggested.
The number of SMS messages sent per customer each month dropped 3% to an average of 678 texts in the third quarter, according to a report by independent mobile analyst Chetan Sharma.
However, that doesn't mean Americans are turning their backs on emoticons and LOLs completely, as customers are just looking for cheaper ways to text, the New York Daily News reports.
According to the report, services like Apple's iMessage, Viber and Jaxtr SMS allow customers to send SMS-like texts at a much lower cost than the major US carriers, which charge as much as 20 cents for a single text.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that the rise in alternative messaging presents a major threat to his company.
"You lie awake at night worrying about what is that which will disrupt your business model. Apple iMessage is a classic example. If you're using iMessage, you're not using one of our messaging services, right?" he said.
Social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram may also be partly to blame for the declining numbers, the report said.