Apple's iMessage and other alternative internet-based messaging services have caused the first drop in text messaging in the US in years, according to reports, indicating that SMS messages could be on their way out.

Mobile analyst Chetan Sharma published a report this week that found that American smartphone users sent an average of 678 texts a month during quarter three of 2012, down from 696 texts month in the quarter before.

As noted by The New York Times, while this is a small decrease, it is a significant one because it is the first time the US has seen a dip in text messaging for several years, during which SMS texts have seen a continuous growth until now.

The decline could cause problems for network operators in the future, which are seeing a decline in SMS revenue. Messaging through iMessage or Facebook's Messenger can amount to significantly lower cost, and therefore less revenue for the carrier.

However, with smartphone adoption growing, carriers are seeing an increase in data plans revenue, so the move away from text messaging doesn't mean that carriers should be worried just yet.

Have you seen a change in the way you send messages since the introduction of iMessage? Let us know in the comments section below, or on Twitter.

See also:

Apple users vent frustration on Twitter after iMessage outage
Macworld Masterclass: How to set up and use iMessage