Published in Mobiles

Smartphones could render paid SMS text messaging obsolete

by on25 June 2012

Free services slowly taking over

The advent of free messaging services, cheap mobile broadband and even cheaper smartphones has led researchers to conclude that SMS is slowly going the way of the dodo.

SMS became popular through a quirk in GSM development back in the nineties. It was never envisioned as a mass consumer service, but eventually it become a phenomenal success and a big money maker for telecoms.

All that is about to change. According to research firm Ovum, SMS generated 57 percent of non-voice revenues for telecoms in 2009, but the figure will fall to about 47 percent in 2012.

"SMS in the next few years will contribute less and less to non-voice revenue for operators," said Neha Dharia, a consumer telecoms analyst at Ovum told AFP. "Consumers now have the ability to send text messaging through a variety of ways, such as IM (instant messaging), messaging apps, social networks and so on."

So, the advent of cheap, uncapped mobile broadband could squeeze out SMS as a dominant form of text messaging, although SMS reigned supreme for the better part of two decades. We could eventually see similar drops in voice revenues, as consumers flock to free voice services.

Needless to say, telecoms are not too thrilled by the prospect of losing traditional sources of revenue to free services. However, to be honest they simply failed to innovate and offer next generation services ahead of the web-based competition.

More here.

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