Short message services (SMS) continue to demonstrate incredible growth rates. According to research company Frost & Sullivan, SMS message activity is set to jump from the current level of 186 billion messages a year to 365 billion across western Europe in 2006. However, with the arrival of 2.5G and 3G network services, more advanced message services will begin to come to the fore.
Frost & Sullivan expects to see strong SMS growth up until 2004, when traffic growth will start to level off as next-generation services begin to take off. Enhanced messaging services (EMS), described as a “direct descendent” of SMS, are now available, and allow users to send and receive ring tones, logos and combinations of simple media to and from EMS-compliant devices.
However, the appearance of multimedia messaging services (MMS), enabling the sending of graphics, video, audio and other multimedia elements, will limit the life span of EMS. MMS is therefore where the real opportunity lies. “The burgeoning growth of MMS will offset the SMS decline in the future. We expect MMS to account for 66.3% of all mobile messaging revenue (excluding email) in 2006,” says Eduardo Gonzalez, a research analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
Frost & Sullivan believes that in 2002 just 6% of mobile phones will be enabled for MMS and that it will be only in 2005 that penetration reaches mass-market levels. In 2002 the MMS market will be worth €77 million, leaping to €30.5 billion in 2006.