French operators report drop in SMS usage, jump in MMS over new year

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.

SMS usage appears to be declining in France.

Orange France said on Twitter that the total number of SMS sent on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day reached just over 537 million, which was 1.31 per cent lower than a year ago. On the other hand, MMS messages sent by Orange users increased by 14.92 per cent to more than 15 million.

SFR noted a similar trend and the operator said on Twitter that the number of SMS messages sent was up slightly at 511 million, while the number of MMS greetings increased by a whopping 37 per cent to 14.4 million.

Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile have not yet officially released their figures, but Les Echos reported that Bouygues Telecom recorded 307 million SMS sent in two days, a decrease of 2 per cent from last year, while MMS messages grew by 21 per cent to more than 8 million.

Les Echos noted that there are several factors behind the stabilisation in SMS messaging, a primary one being the success of MMS; French users increasingly like to send their messages with a picture or a video.

"The performance of the network and the quality of smartphones facilitates the sending of MMS," Bouygues Telecom told the French paper.

However, there is also evidence of increased usage of social networking and over-the-top applications, particularly among the young. One French operator told Les Echos that this is a trend that is expected to continue throughout the year.

For more:
- see this Les Echos article (translated via Google Translate)

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