WhatsApp conquers Dutch social messaging market

The WhatsApp social messaging application continues to find a ready market in the Netherlands with 75 per cent of smartphone users now having installed the software, according to Telecompaper's Dutch Apps Market report for September.

Apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp continue to cut into operator revenues.

The reports says that WhatsApp has been downloaded by around 5.5 million Dutch smartphone users with more than 80 per cent of these using the social messaging app at least once per day. iPhone users are especially keen on the app, with nearly 90 per cent having installed the service on the phones.

Additionally, the report highlights the rapid decline in the local Hyves social network app, with its penetration on Dutch smartphones falling to 16 per cent in September from 40 per cent in March. Based on the current trend, the Telecompaper study forecasts the Hyves app will be present on only 10 per cent of Dutch smartphones by the end of this year.

Separately, a new report from the market research firm Ovum states that by 2016 operators will have lost $54 billion (€41.7 billion) in SMS revenues due to the upsurge in popularity of social messaging services on smartphones. This revenue loss will be more than double the $23 billion Ovum expects mobile operators to have lost by the end of 2012.

"Social messaging is becoming more pervasive, and operators are coming under increased pressure to drive revenues from the messaging component of their communications businesses," Ovum analyst Neha Dharia said in a statement. "Operators need to understand the impact of social messaging apps on consumer behaviour, both in terms of changing communication patterns and the impact on SMS revenues, and offer services to suit."

The fresh report follows an Ovum report from February that said consumer adoption of IP-based mobile social messaging services cost operators $13.9 billion in lost SMS revenues in 2011, increasing from 2010 losses of $8.7 billion, according to a new report from independent technology analyst Ovum.

While Ovum acknowledged the importance of industry-wide collaboration as operators start to launch Rich Communication Suite (RCS) platforms, the firm believes this effort will not reach the mass market before 2014. In the interim, Ovum said that operators will need to rely on innovative pricing, partnerships and launching operator-branded IP messaging services to keep up with the changing demand.

"In order to take advantage of RCS when the time comes, operators will have to have a strong market presence," Dharia said. "This means that they need to move to social messaging now in order to make sure OTT players are not in a better position to take advantage of future opportunities."

For more:
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)
- see this Ovum release

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Ovum: Operator SMS revenues fall $13.9B due to social messaging