The doomsayers have since concluded that SMS is dead. I mean, who cares about SMS when you can send tons of messages for free on WhatsApp, BBM and the like?

While it is true that over-the-top-messaging has stolen a lot of the SMS shine, you would be surprised to know just how well SMS is still fairing.

Here’s what SMS vs OTT looks like to the doomsayers


Source: Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2014

The above graph depicts migration from SMS to OTT services over the past 7 years. However, even as more people are migrating to OTT, SMS usage continues to grow, as shown in the graph below


Source: Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2014

Yes of course, OTT usage has grown exponentially, but it doesn’t mean SMS is dying either. SMS usage inclines and will continue, especially as SMS tariffs continue to drop in emerging markets where SMS usage is yet to peak. SMS may never outgrow OTT, but it sure isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

A few things worthy of note:

  • Global SMS revenues were in excess of $130 billion last year. They are expected to drop to about $100 billion by the end of 2014.
  • However, $100 billion is still over 50 times what online messaging generates annually. So yes, while online messaging continues to stifle SMS growth, it doesn’t amount to much revenue yet.
  • Only about 1 billion people currently use online messaging. That’s nothing compared to about 6 billion SMS users worldwide.
  • SMS may eventually lose its position on the throne of messaging but not anytime soon. And even when that happens, maybe 5 – 8 years from now, SMS will ALWAYS remain relevant.
  • We still have till about 2019 before all phones will become smartphones and everybody on the planet has access to online messaging.

SMS. Is . King.

Photo Credit: D.Boyarrin via Compfight cc.

Muyiwa Matuluko Author

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