A new report from Juniper Research predicts the number of mobile Instant Messaging users will exceed 1.3 billion by 2016, which is three times as many as last year’s total. The increase is expected to be driven by new services along with the continued growth of existing services. Apple recently announced that its iOS5 operating system would offer iMessage, an Apple-only IM service.
However, SMS will remain as the primary means of text communication on mobile handsets, according to the report.
Daniel Ashdown, the report’s author, said “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.”