SMS Rules - OK?

David Murphy

SMS will remain a key revenue driver for the messaging market globally for the next five years, despite growth in enhanced messaging. Thats the conclusion of Mobile Messaging - 2005, a new report from Informa Telecoms & Media.

As regular visitors to Mobile Marketing Magazine will know, some believe it has longer even than that. In an interview we ran more than a month ago with Andrew Bud, executive chairman of mobile transaction network mBlox, he told us that SMS would dominate the mobile marketing landscape for the next 10 years.

The Informa report analyses the current position and future prospects for a range of enhanced messaging options such as multimedia messaging (MMS), mobile email and instant messaging (IM). Across all these sectors, says the report, person-to-person (P2P) messaging will continue to represent the main sector of the business, but application-to-person (A2P) and interactive messaging will become increasingly important, as new services, such as mobile marketing, and the delivery of rich content come on stream.

"We believe the messaging market has great potential" says Dan Winterbottom, one of the report's authors. "With total revenues approaching $120 billion globally by 2010, this is one of the key growth sectors in mobile services."

Part of this growth, says the report, will come from new markets, such as the developing areas of Asia Pacific, and part from an increasingly complex marketplace, where messaging is driven by business users as well as by consumers. Mobile email, which is attracting the attention of a number of major players, including Microsoft, is cited as one example of this.

The report goes on to describe the recent evolution of the A2P market, and how increasing penetration of higher performance handsets, as well as moves by brand owners to go direct to the consumer, have combined to create a more attractive environment for content providers and mobile consumers alike. Alongside existing content like ringtones and games, new types of content, such as full-track downloads, end user-generated content like mobile blogging and fan-based communities, are helping to fuel new growth in the sector, the report says.

Looking further ahead towards the medium term future, the report says that the outlook for enhanced messaging, including mobile email, MMS and IM is promising. The common theme that runs through the success stories in the sector, says the report, is consumer benefit - whether that means sharing pictures on a network, downloading music on demand, or giving consumers the power to shape mobile content in a way that suits them.

As part of the research programme for the report, Informa Telecoms & Media carried out an online survey of mobile professionals worldwide to assess opinions and market trends. This revealed, among other things, that device usability is still a key success factor for messaging, and that longer term, technology issues, such as how to manage the convergence of different messaging types, are critical. The report concludes that device usability, pricing and quality of service are the immediate concerns to be addressed, but that in the medium term the prospects for enhanced messaging are good.

The report costs 2,155 for a paper copy, or 3,155 for a single-user PDF, plus paper copy.

More information at:

Andrew Bud interview. Read