SMS remains messaging king

SMS, the long standing crutch for mobile data revenues, faces a healthy future with statistics forecasting traffic volumes and revenues that continue to confound predictions.

UK-based researcher Portio Research, released a report on Tuesday, ‘Mobile Messaging Futures 2007 – 2012’ which anticipates that although the growth of SMS revenues will not be as aggressive as the growth of SMS volumes, due to declining prices, by 2012 global revenues are expected to reach $67bn, driven by 3.7 trillion messages.

“SMS continues to be a phenomenal success as the cheapest, quickest and easiest to use form of peer-to-peer mobile communication,” Portio said. “SMS traffic has not flattened out in mature markets but continued to boom whilst the US market has grown much faster than expected. The SMS market despite declining prices continues to be fuelled by new subscribers.”

The researcher said that many new handsets bought in emerging markets offer little affordable functionality apart from basic voice and SMS services, which then translates into a consequent boom in SMS traffic.

However, by 2011, Portio predicts that mobile instant messaging (MIM), especially in markets such as North America, will supplant SMS as the mainstream messaging service as smartphones and wireless internet proliferate.

In this event, the researcher suggests operators need to strike a balance between SMS and IM pricing in order to prevent the cannibalisation of SMS revenues in the future

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