Figures from Informa Telecoms & Media show that global annual SMS revenue is expected to fall from $120 billion this year to $96.7 billion by 2018, which is a drop of $23 billion (£14 billion).
This predicted fall is being blamed on the adoption and use of over-the-top (OTT) messaging applications that aren’t controlled by mobile networks.
The Asia Pacific region, which currently generates the largest amount of revenue from SMS text messages, is expected to see the highest drop in annual SMS revenue over the forecast period. It’s notable that a number of OTT messaging apps have originated from countries in this region.
However, the report notes that mobile operators with a high proportion of post-paid (‘pay monthly’) customers can mitigate the impact of OTT messaging applications and slow the rate of decline by offering ‘unlimited’ SMS or large bundles with contracts. In addition, revenue from business use of SMS messaging is growing.
Gareth Sims, Head of Forecasting at Informa Telecoms & Media, said “Although we are forecasting a decline in SMS revenues, due largely to the well-documented competition from OTT players, the diverse messaging market provides so many complementary use cases that it would be naïve to think that SMS has no future role to play.”