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Mobile Messaging is Growing in Emerging Markets

Mobile SMS has proven to be a significant success ever since it started to show its first signs of adoption in the early 1990s. So much so that next year, according to ABI Research estimates, more than seven trillion SMS messages will be sent worldwide, from nearly 4.2 billion mobile subscriptions.

Messaging is also more prevalent among younger mobile phone service subscribers, and as they replace older subscribers, messaging will get a further boost.

Messaging includes four types of communication: SMS, MMS, mobile email and Instant Messaging. SMS is being increasingly regarded as something of a commodity by users, due to falling delivery costs and high competition.

According to ABI industry analyst Aapo Markkanen, "When these trends towards commoditization are combined with the wider adoption of mobile email and IM services, the revenue proportion of SMS and MMS against the market total is expected to decline."

Email has the advantage of familiarity for many consumers, and, says Markkanen, "Due to relatively low PC penetration in emerging regions, for many consumers across Latin America, Africa, and south Asia mobile devices will provide the primary screen for accessing email. This won't be restricted to smartphones -- many companies are developing solutions to allow more basic handsets to handle email."

Messaging is, increasingly, a tool for the enterprise as well as for individuals. Mobile messaging has distinct advantages for companies communicating with their customers. It is universal, cost-effective and reliable, and most people have their phones with them and switched on most of the time.

However the rate of mobile phone adoption generally will gradually decline over the next five years, and growth in number of new customers starting to use messaging will likewise slow gradually.

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