Mobile operators’ SMS revenues may be under pressure from over-the-top mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and iMessage, but Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts that SMS will still generate a total of $722.7bn in revenues for operators between 2011 and 2016.
While Informa forecasts slowing growth, or even a small decline, in person-to-person SMS revenues in some developed countries, total global SMS revenues will increase at a CAGR of 3 per cent over the next five years.
“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. 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.”
SMS traffic will total a global 9.4 trillion messages by 2016, up from 5.9 trillion messages in 2011. However, its share of global mobile messaging traffic will fall, from 64.1 per cent in 2011, to 42.1 per cent.
Mobile instant messaging traffic, meanwhile, will increase to 7.7 trillion messages, and a 34.6 per cent share, by 2016.
But mobile operators needn’t worry too much, as Informa forecasts that operators will still be generating a higher proportion of revenues from mobile IM than the third-party providers of OTT messaging services, at 54 per cent, or $8.7bn.