According to the latest market study by Informa Telecoms & Media, mobile phone short message service (SMS) will remain a significant source of revenues and traffic for mobile operators on a global basis until at least 2015.
Global SMS text messaging revenues are forecast to rise to $136.9 billion in 2015 -- from $105.5 billion in 2010. While global SMS traffic is expected to increase to 8.7 trillion messages in 2015 -- from 5 trillion messages in 2010.
"Mobile operators are spending heavily on rollouts of LTE and other high-speed mobile data networks, leaving relatively little in the budget for messaging services, however SMS remains a core service for mobile users and continues to account for the vast majority, 80 percent in 2010, of their data-and-messaging revenues," says Pamela Clark-Dickson, senior analyst at Informa.
SMS will continue to be the most popular form of messaging for a number of reasons: universal access and interoperability across devices and mobile operator networks, ease of use, reliability, and relatively low cost.
Although traditionally used primarily by consumers, SMS is increasingly being used by government departments, banks and financial institutions, brands, retailers and transport providers, among others, for increasingly sophisticated purposes.
SMS is used to deliver alerts, information services or mobile marketing campaigns -- it's also used to deliver appointment reminders, tickets, coupons, banking and payments, and loyalty programs, among others.
SMS is also becoming increasingly popular in emerging markets, in particular for the delivery of a range of financial services to mobile users who would otherwise not have access to banking products, for information services, and for e-mail and instant messaging.
Indeed, the types of information services that are being delivered by SMS in emerging markets in Africa and other regions are playing a vital role in improving the economic and social well-being of mobile users and their families in these markets.
SMS will remain a key mobile messaging medium over the coming years, but growth in text messaging revenues is slowing or falling, particularly in developed markets, and mobile operators may lose a significant cash-cow if they do not act to introduce or enable the introduction of new and innovative SMS-based services.