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Sometimes when I text other iPhone users, messages don't deliver as iMessages and say "Sent as text message". What causes this to happen?

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When the receiving end did not set up iMessage on the iPhone, or when there is no internet connection available (for both receiver and sender), it will fall back to plain SMS messages.

You can disable this option in Settings > Messages > Send As SMS.

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    Also, don't forget iMessage is a feature of iOS 5, so both parties need to be running that version. If a user on one end is running iOS 4 or earlier, then the message will always be sent as a text even though both users are iPhone users.
    – daGUY
    Aug 13 '12 at 14:33
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    Apple's cloud infrastructure has been known to go down also. This may cause iMessage delivery to fail and fall back to SMS.
    – user11633
    Jun 18 '13 at 21:31

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