SMS will resist the surge of rival over-the-top (OTT) messaging services to remain a major earner for cellcos for the next five years, Informa Telecoms & Media predicts.
The research firm forecasts SMS will generate $722.7 billion (€580 billion) in revenues between 2011 and 2016, despite growing availability of rival messaging apps including WhatsApp and iMessage. While those OTT services will inevitably result in lower SMS usage and income in some regions, the global picture remains one of growth.
Factors affecting SMS usage include “operators’ pricing strategies, and the penetration of smartphones and mobile broadband,” notes Pamela Clark-Dickson, senior analyst with the firm. “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,” she explains.
The firm predicts that SMS traffic will hit 9.4 trillion messages in 2016, compared to 5.9 trillion in 2011. However, the growth won’t be enough to prevent SMS’ share of global messaging traffic falling from 64.1% to 42.1% by 2016, as the number of OTT messages grows to 7.7 trillion messages by the end of the forecast period.