SMS Will Earn Operators $726bn Over Next Five Years

Portio Research has released the 5th Edition of its report, Mobile Messaging Futures 2011-2015. The 398-page report includes 38 tables, results from Portio’s vendor survey, market analysis, growth forecasts, regional splits, and country data for 74 individual country markets. 

In 2010, mobile messaging service generated revenues of more than $179bn (£110bn) for mobile operators worldwide, with the figure set to pass $200bn in 2011, $300bn in 2014, reaching $335bn by year-end 2015.

Contrary to popular belief, messaging services clearly still form the bulk of non-voice revenues for mobile operators across the world. Even in advanced markets like N. America and Europe, SMS and MMS combined continue to contribute 55.9 per cent and 51.4 per cent respectively to mobile data revenues, and in Asia Pacific, the figure is 63.1 per cent.

The report notes that, even as far out as 2015, mobile messaging will continue to contribute 55 per cent of all operator data revenues worldwide. SMS alone will continue to contribute 33.5 per cent of mobile data revenues worldwide in 2015, to retain its position as the single biggest revenue-generating non-voice service worldwide. In 2015, even in North America, SMS will still generate 30.1 per cent of mobile data revenues.

The report looks in detail at factors affecting the growth of messaging in different regional markets, and discusses key trends, such as the shift to social networks like Facebook; the growth of mobile email and Instant Messaging (IM) as a threat to SMS; and the rapid growth of A2P MMS as a marketing channel.

The report also includes some interesting stats on SMS. Now more than 16 years old, it has been an incredible success. Worldwide, Portio forecasts that there are almost 4bn SMS users in 2011. Compared to this, the analyst believes that there are roughly 1bn smartphones in use around the world in 2011, roughly 800m mobile broadband subscribers, and approximately 100m mobile app users.

SMS has generated revenues for operators worldwide of approximately $585bn since services were launched in the mid-1990s. Portio forecasts that SMS is set to earn operators another $726bn over the next five years, to year-end 2015.

Operators, says Portio, should focus on the fact that SMS will generate more than $1 trillion over the next seven years. In 2010, Portio estimates that SMS generated revenues of $220,000 per minute throughout the year for the mobile operator community.

There’s more information about the report here.