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Mobile Instant Messaging Use to Triple in Five Years
Posted: 21-Jun-2011 [Source: Juniper Research]

[Juniper Research forecasts the number of mobile IM users will exceed 1.3 billion by 2016.]

Hampshire, UK -- A new report published by Juniper Research forecasts that the number of mobile IM (Instant Messaging) users will exceed 1.3 billion by 2016. This tripling of users from last year will be driven by the arrival of new services, such as Apple’s iMessage, and continued growth of existing services, such as AOL’s AIM, Blackberry Messenger, Microsoft’s Windows Live, Skype and Yahoo! Messenger.

The launch of these free Mobile IM services has been facilitated by the increasing number of smartphones in use, low-cost data packages and the development of high speed mobile networks. While some IM services are ad-funded, most are viewed by the operators as customer retention tools, with the only cost to the user being the data usage charged. However, the report finds that, while users of these services will grow, they will not challenge SMS as the primary means of text communication on mobile handsets.

Mobile Messaging Markets Report author Daniel Ashdown argues: “SMS has one distinct advantage over ‘over-the-top’ services: its ubiquity. With an SMS I know I can reach almost any handset in the world, if I have its number. While IM services have some advantages, such as real-time communication and apparent absence of cost, the market is fragmented by different services which cannot communicate with each other.”

Within the SMS market, revenue from Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS will exceed $70bn by 2016, overtaking Person-to-Person (P2P) during that year. A2P messaging – defined as those messages which are sent to or from an application – has a wide variety of use-cases, including financial services, ticketing, and any other service involving sending or receiving a large number of messages.

Other key findings in the report include:

*Premium-rate SMS and MMS will decline due to challenges from other forms of billing/delivery.

*MMS traffic and revenue will continue to grow, but A2P MMS will not have as bigger impact as A2P SMS.

*Mobile email adoption will continue as the number of handsets with QWERTY keyboards, Internet access and larger screens increase.

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