Home > Technology & Telecom > Will Text Messaging Be So Important in 10 Years?

Will Text Messaging Be So Important in 10 Years?

Text messaging will be the leading messaging service for the foreseeable future, and will evolve with additional features over the next three to five years, says Frost & Sullivan, in a report sponsored by Comverse. The bigger question might be whether that will still be true in a decade.
Text messaging will incorporate contextual presence and location information, as well as unified identity for messaging that provides a user’s status, personal information, updates and messages in one user interface, say mobile executives interviewed for the report.
 
“SMS’s massive success and staying power give the industry valuable insight into its transition to next-generation messaging,” said Ronald Gruia, Frost and Sullivan analyst.
 
Despite the cannibalization of the service by social networking services, operators believe it will still be the leading messaging bearer for the foreseeable future.
 
Perhaps the most significant finding, though, is executive perception of broader trends in the messaging business. Social networking is, for the most part, relegating operators to being bit pipe providers, so they are looking for alternatives, says Gruia. There’s that scary concept again: “bit pipe.” Some might use the phrase “dumb pipe,” but the concept is the same: over time, as applications are “logically” separated from “access,” it is ever easier for over-the-top or third party applications to provide the value once reserved exclusively for “service” providers.
 
It might be helpful if service providers simply accepted the notion that their businesses will be based on broadband access, of a more or less “open” sort, and that other parts of the business will be based on services and applications provided to end users and business partners. It is pointless to argue against the proposition that the foundation of the business is, in face, “access.” That doesn’t mean “applications and services” will not be part of the overall revenue mix. It would be hard to find many executives that believe this will be the case.
 
The salient exception is firms that accept a wholesale access role, typically provided on a “monopoly” basis by national regulators. That bargain typically is considered a reasonable move by firms that believe their internal and organic growth prospects are limited. In such cases, trading away the “retail” services business for regulatory freedom to deploy assets and capital elsewhere often is seen as a wise business move.
 
Targeted mobile advertising, tiered services, and applications program interfaces for third-party developers are some of the ways mobile executives expect to compensate for falling rates and commoditization.
 
A new ecosystem also is envisioned, as firms such as Apple and Google are gaining influence within the value chain, and access providers need to change as well. One of the key changes is more of a focus on business partners, not just “end users.”
 
In the new thinking, business partners will become important revenue sources, in addition to end users. That might include application developers, brand advertisers, content owners, resellers and others.
 
The model here is the “media” business model, which historically has included a mix of revenue sources, including end user payments and business partner revenue.
 
Executives are not yet sure about prospects for “Rich Communications Suite,” and by extension multimedia messaging.
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