Messaging futures look bright

The future for SMS is bright, according to a report from Portio Research. It will remain the most widely-used messaging format for some years to come, with revenues growing from $35bn today to an estimated $50bn by 2010 (almost 2.38 trillion messages).

The report, Mobile Messaging Futures 2005-2010, also sees a bright future for MMS. Despite the hype, since its launch in 2002 MMS has been hampered by interoperability issues and low handset penetration. But by 2010 it will be generating the same revenue as SMS from considerably less traffic. The report suggests that “the industry must concentrate on increasing the use of Premium MMS as a marketing tool and a distribution channel while promoting growth of cheap peer to peer picture messaging. When MMS becomes cheap, simple and compelling, traffic will grow and revenue will follow”.

Other mobile messaging technologies – primarily email and instant messaging, and to a lesser extent push-to-talk and video messaging – will grow in popularity. Mobile IM has a strong future in certain markets, particularly the US where volumes are expected to overtake SMS by 2009 or 2010.

But a large proportion of global mobile subscriber growth in the next five years will be in low-income emerging markets, and fixed-mobile substitution is back on the corporate agenda in the mature mobile markets. So Portio thinks there will be plenty of life left in voice and SMS. “No other non-verbal form of communication in the world is used by so many individuals and is experiencing such a rapid expansion of its user base,” the report claims.

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