Operators lose SMS revenue to social messaging services

Ovum forecasts that by 2016 operators will have lost $54 billion in SMS revenues due to the increasing popularity of social messaging services on smartphones, more than double the $23bn they are expected to have lost by the end of 2012. occurs through platforms other than SMS, MMS, or email, and which is either tied to a social network or has a social component attached. Social messaging players include mobile apps, mobile social networks, and even some mobile instant messaging platforms. The global technology analysts believe that collaboration with handset manufacturers is imperative if operators are to remain relevant and competitive in the messaging industry. Social messaging

In a new report addressing how operators can counteract the social messaging threat from over-the-top (OTT) players, Ovum highlights the rapid increase in the number of OTT players, and demonstrates that social messaging is not a short-term trend, but a shift in communication patterns. Operators in Europe and Asia-Pacific will be affected the most.

WhatsApp, one of the more prominent social messaging apps, has seen its levels of penetration increase in markets such as Singapore and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, it is estimated that 75 percent of smartphone users have installed WhatsApp; among iPhone users, 90 percent have installed the app (according to TelecomPaper’s September 2012 report on the Dutch mobile applications market).

According to Ovum, social messaging will continue to grow as smartphone and mobile broadband penetration increases, and expects smaller players such as Pinterest to cause further disruption in the messaging space. The importance of industry-wide collaboration cannot be underestimated as operators look to a Rich Communication Suite (RCS) platform to provide consumers with features such as file sharing, video calls, and IP-based messaging. However, RCS is not expected to reach the mass market before 2014, so for the time being operators will have to rely on innovative pricing strategies, partnerships, and launching operator-branded IP messaging services to keep up with the changing demand.


  1. I’m on PC’s and my Galaxy Nexus. I use email the most, Google Voice for folks who prefer SMS, and Facebook

  2. I only use SMS to tell people I’m late. I rarely ever use it. I do use Google Voice if I am on my computer and texting someone who lives overseas. Otherwise I use email, Facebook messaging or Twitter direct messaging.

    I have a Samsung Galaxy Mini as my primary mobile phone and I use it only for calls because it’s such a horrible phone. You make so many mistakes when typing. The touch screen functions poorly.

  3. Well, I think this was something that eventually would have to happen sooner or later, that is, it is more convenient for many economically speaking, spend a few dollars a month on your internet bill and communicate all the time you want through these social services rather than spending on a contract with a mobile operator.

    I particularly think it is more comfortable to communicate in this way instead of SMS text messages, besides that tablets and smartphones currently available technology sufficient to support this type of communication. The companies would have to devise a strategy to realize the benefits of social networking and instant messaging, a mobile app, for example would be a good alternative for this.