SMS declining ??

Posted on April 24, 2012


This was originally posted to my internal IBM blog on 18:02 20/03/2012, Steve Devo, 2011, christmas, mobile, sms, volume, Mobile Internet

[ed’s note: Seems that this was not posted !, so it is from jan 2012 even though it’s now march]

[ed’s note two: and of course as I am transferring these older posts to “seed” my new blog it is out of date even more !!!]


There are reports emerging that this 2011 Christmas holiday season saw a drop in SMS volumes compared to previous years.

Double digit drops in Finland, similar in Hing Kong, and in many other places.

Christmas is normally a huge peak (along with new year’s eve) so why can this be.

There are free messaging services starting to rise such as Apple’s iMessage, Blackberry’s BBN and WhatsApp etc.

However I am not sure this is the entire stry, the reason SMS took off was because the regulators forced the operators to allow messages to any customer on any network. This meant that you did not have to worry about the recipient’s phone, network etc, they would get the message. This confidence is key. BBN and iMsg are only for users of those devices, so if you do not know the person’s phone you cannot be sure they will get the message.

I think this is as much to do with the rise of Social Networking and these services eroding some of the message volume, and with tablets and smartphones it is getting easier and easier to send a tweet, to update facebook and so on, without having to use a laptop.

If this is true then the switch from SMS to Social network apps will mean that the traffic is moving onto the data channel and will be far less efficient (more data volume than SMS for the same message test), so this is not good news for the operators, as they are seeing declining use of SMS (and therefore revenue) and increasing use of data eating into the bundled data allowance, and this hurts because data costs the operator real cash to ship about, and transfer over to the internet, a large Operator could be spending many 10s of millions of pounds on internet connectivity alone.

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