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SMS Will Remain More Popular Than Mobile Messaging Apps Over Next Five Years : Informa

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Mobile operators’ SMS revenues may be under pressure from mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and others, but Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts that mobile operators will still generate a total of US$722.7 billion in revenues from SMS between 2011 and 2016.

“There will not be a uniform decline in mobile operators’ SMS traffic and revenues as a result of the adoption and use of over-the-top messaging services,” says Pamela Clark-Dickson, senior analyst, Mobile Content & Applications, at Informa Telecoms & Media. “Factors such as the operators’ pricing strategies, and the penetration of smartphones and mobile broadband in a market will determine how quickly and to what extent substitution occurs,” she adds.

“For example, operators offering integrated tariffs that include a balanced proportion of voice, SMS and mobile data, are continuing to see growth in their SMS traffic and less impact on their SMS revenues,” says Clark-Dickson.

While Informa is forecasting either slowing growth or even a small decline in person-to-person SMS revenues in some developed regions and countries, total global SMS revenues will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 3% over the next five years. Western Europe will generate the highest amount of SMS revenues globally between 2011 and 2016, totalling US$174.1 billion, followed by Asia Pacific Developing, where SMS revenues will total US$173.8 billion between 2011 and 2016.

Globally, Informa forecasts that SMS traffic will total 9.4 trillion messages by 2016, up from 5.9 trillion messages in 2011. However, SMS’s share of global mobile messaging traffic will fall from 64.1% in 2011, to 42.1% in 2016. At the same time, global mobile instant messaging traffic will increase from 1.6 trillion messages in 2011 to 7.7 trillion messages in 2016, doubling its share of global messaging traffic from 17.1% in 2011 to 34.6% in 2016.

Informa also forecasts that, by 2016, mobile operators globally will still be generating a higher proportion of revenues from mobile IM than the third-party providers of OTT messaging services will, at US$8.7 billion or 54% of total IM service revenues. However, the OTT messaging service providers’ share of IM revenues will climb from 37% of total revenues in 2011, to US$7.4 billion or 46% of total revenues in 2016.

MMS remains a lucrative service for mobile operators, punching above its weight in terms of revenues. While global MMS traffic is expected to represent just 1.7% of global messaging traffic in 2016, at 387.5 billion events, global MMS revenues will represent 10.6% of global messaging revenues within the same timeframe, at US$20.7 billion.

However, mobile e-mail will be the second highest-revenue generator for mobile operators by 2016, generating US$32 billion in revenues, or 16.3% of total global messaging revenues. “Mobile e-mail is an important revenue-generating service for mobile operators, largely because they offer it as a service bundled with a mobile data plan,” says Clark-Dickson. In addition to Research in Motion’s BlackBerry services, mobile operators also generate revenues from their own-brand mobile e-mail services and from offering data plans that are specifically tied to mobile e-mail services that their subscribers can independently access on their devices.


As per Indian Telecom customer perspective, Customers are started exploring SMS thru IM & OTT based solution instead of old pattern SMS. Moreover, Telecom used to get more SMS revenue from Festival days thru Blackout days which will get higher charges instead of normal charge. As per customer, IM or OTT based SMS having hidden charges thru GPRS which is free due to GPRS plan based free browsing and customer think that he would not pay any additional cost or upfront cost due to GPRS free usage.
Indian customers are started exploring festival SMS thru Picture and usual SMS msg thru OTT or IM. Moreover, SMS having contraint in more than 160 characters also. IM & OTT doesn't say 160 over characters msg as customer feel free to do long SMS thru IM & OTT in turn having spelling & words pop-up also
Hence, Indian telecom has to re-look on SMS revenue growth thru other model instead same old SMS pattern

Today, every one likes to enjoy instant messaging via OTT. SMS are only used by business to communicate formal messages or companies to send advertising SMS. Advertising & Marketing has made the use of SMS annoying and less personal thus people do not like to use SMS for communicating anymore. Instant & free sharing of media like photos, videos and files has also played important role in growth of OTT in India and abroad like UK, US, Canada and many more countries. This shows that SMS is no more people's favorite messaging app. Read more about views on international messaging and communication on

As this is a pretty old post, we can safely say that the prediction was wrong. A vast majority of Indians have smartphones now. I do not remember when was the last time me, my friends or even my family members texted someone. There are so many messenger apps to choose from and not to mention, with Jio giving unlimited free 4g data to all their subscribers, there seems to be no need for text messaging anyone anymore. I am sure though that all this could not have been predicted back when this post was created.