By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new service Apple is rolling out tomorrow could be a game-changer that puts cell phone companies on the losing end — at least in the short-term.

It’s called iMessage. Some will say it’s old news; they’ve been using Blackberry Messenger (BBM) for years.

But for iPhones and iPads, this is the same idea.

“Instead of going over the carrier’s traditional network for SMS, it will go over the data network, and completely bypass the carrier’s service in that way.”

In other words, says Maggie Reardon with, sending an instant message to others with the same application won’t get charged as a text.

“Eventually, it’s going to be a significant impact to the industry. Text messaging today generates more than $20 billion in revenue for the wireless industry. That’s a lot of money for something that doesn’t take up a lot of bandwidth, so there’s a huge amount of profit there.”

Profit lost, but not for long. She says wireless companies are certain to charge more for data as texting and voice take the backseat.

Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio 1060

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