Operators are hedging their bets when it comes to over the top (OTT) messaging, embracing specialised OTT companies on the one hand, while on the other continuing to develop their own OTT messaging strategies.
According to initial figures from France's mobile operators, the new year brought further evidence that SMS usage in the country is being increasingly cannibalised by alternative services such as MMS or picture messages and over-the-top messaging apps.
AT&T Mobility, Sprint and T-Mobile US entered into an agreement with 45 states to stop billing customers for premium SMS messages they receive. Verizon Wireless is not part of the settlement but said that it too will discontinue the practice.
Sprint Nextel MVNO FreedomPop said starting later this summer it will offer unlimited texting and 200 VoIP-based voice calling minutes for free to select Android phone users. The offering represents the combination of FreedomPop's freemium business model with the over-the-top (OTT) messaging trend.
Operators are well aware of the threat that OTT presents, although some of their views--for example, that subscribers only use OTT apps because they are cheap--may be slightly off kilter. Nevertheless, if operators are still in any doubt about the severity of the threat, two reports this week provided some stark figures to illustrate how big a threat OTT is set to become.
New research from Analysys Mason claims the pricing of IP messaging using cross-platform apps or platform-specific services such as Apple's iMessage is clearly more attractive in comparison with operator-provided SMS.
The nation's Tier 1 wireless carriers agreed to offer nationwide text-to-911 services by May 15, 2014, with "major deployments" starting next year.
The global LTE market will more than double between next year and 2014 as operators roll out LTE networks, according to a new report from research firm Yankee Group.
Spain's three largest operators are banding together to launch rich communication services (RCS) in an effort to compete with OTT providers such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp.
Text messaging in France could be on the slide with 1.69 billion fewer SMSs being sent in the third quarter compared to the second quarter, according to a report from the telecoms regulator Arcep.