According to a recent report by Juniper Research, the global mobile messaging traffic will reach 28.2 trillion annually by 2017. This is nearly double the 14.7 trillion messages which will be sent this year, 2012. Mobile messages comprise SMS, MMS, IM, Email, RCS/RCS-e and Social Media messages.
The report says that, the growth in total traffic will be primarily driven by the use of instant messaging services, which will comprise over a quarter of all traffic annually in five years’ time.
According to the report, OTT (Over-the-Top) services such as eBuddy, iMessage, Nimbuzz and Whatsapp are already having an impact on mobile network operators’ messaging businesses, as smartphone owners find instant messaging a cheaper alternative. Until recently, most smartphone owners would have had contract subscriptions with ample messaging allowances, but with the cost of these devices falling, more and more price-conscious prepaid subscribers will be able to access these services.
The report found that the market for traditional SMS and MMS is still very huge. According to Juniper Analysts, revenues from traditional operator services – SMS and MMS – will continue to dwarf those of instant messaging. Many IM services are operated by hardware vendors and Internet brands driving consumers to their primary products, while those that are monetised directly are reliant on in-app advertising. Report Co-author Daniel Ashdown said,” SMS is 30 years old; but it is still going strong because a text message will reach almost anyone.”
The report further found that, aside from finding more sustainable business models, some IM service providers also need be concerned with overcoming fragmentation between communities. It found that, some OTT players are overcoming this problem, with NUVOs (Network Unaffiliated Virtual Operators), who provide their users with a real phone number, such as Pinger and textPlus having been successful in the North American markets.
Some other key findings of the report are:
- RCS/RCS-e deployments, whether under the Joyn brand or operator’s own brand face a number of challenges despite positive early movement.
- SMS traffic will remain the largest type of messaging traffic as mobile subscribers continue to embrace its ubiquity, reach and reliability.
- Social messaging and email will also add to the momentum towards IP messaging.