Tyntec, a mobile interaction specialist, today released the results of a study conducted in association with GigaOM Research, naming 2013 as the year IP-based mobile messaging will equal the popularity and ubiquity of SMS. The research shows that nearly 10 trillion SMS and IP mobile messages will be sent in 2013, predicting parity for the first time. This follows a year of significant adoption in consumer-based Internet mobile messaging, driven in part by the global uptake of OTT (over the top) technologies such as WhatsApp and Facebook Chat.
The research, which can be downloaded here,
shows that this trend is set to continue, with the number of IP-based
messaging subscribers already surpassing SMS user numbers in 2012, and
1.8 billion users sending 15 trillion messages per year by 2016.
As users continue to migrate to lower cost messaging services
for person-to-person (P2P) communication, they are forced to switch
between IP-based messaging and SMS due to the lack of interoperability
and inconsistent delivery associated with IP-based messaging. The report
also shows that despite the popularity of newer IP-based messaging
services, SMS will continue to grow by 5 percent CAGR until 2016. This
growth is due in part to Internet companies, social networks and
enterprises continuing to take advantage of SMS's ubiquity,
interoperability and global reach for Application-to-Person (A2P)
messaging. For example, Google relies on SMS in emerging markets to
deliver emails and verify authentication. Similarly, mobile money
applications use SMS to post transactions and social networking sites
such as Facebook and Twitter, also use SMS to publish updates.
The report concludes that the growth of IP-based messaging
and SMS solutions have ultimately reached an impasse and will be forced
to converge as end-users continue to demand more streamlined messaging.
GigaOm Research suggests that virtual phone numbers are a promising
solution to the fragmentation, as these provide a universal identifier
to seamlessly converge the two technologies.
Virtual phone numbers offer interoperability to IP-based
messaging services enabling users to transmit and receive messages
regardless of the delivery mechanism. For example, a WhatsApp user would
traditionally have to close the app and send a message via SMS to a
non-WhatsApp user. By utilizing virtual phone numbers, messages would be
sent seamlessly between devices without the user having to worry about
choosing the appropriate delivery technology (e.g. SMS, WhatsApp,
iMessage) and consumers would benefit from a smoother and more
satisfying user experience. Similarly, carriers can take advantage of
the shifting market by actively promoting virtual phone numbers to OTT
players. This would both enable and promote seamless global
communication while providing carriers with an entry point to the OTT /
cloud telephony market. This convergence of messaging technologies
allows OTT players and carriers to leverage each other's strengths in
the value chain, providing enhanced scalability, delivery and innovative
interfaces for end users while mobile operators gain additional
international, rich SMS and voice traffic revenues from the OTT and web
"The rapid uptake and flexibility of IP technology and the
reliability and ubiquity of SMS messaging will keep these technologies
both competitive and complimentary," said Peter Crocker, GigaOm Research
analyst, founder and principal analyst at Smith's Point Analytics.
"However, the advent of IP and new players is also creating
fragmentation which is bad news for operators, Internet companies and
users alike. Converged messaging through virtual phone numbers seems to
be a natural way to address this problem because they provide a unique
identity to enable interoperability and global reach for all parties."
"While IP-based messaging services such as WhatsApp are
grabbing all the headlines because of their growth, it's important to
remember that they share the same core purpose of SMS, convenient and
reliable end-user communication," said Thorsten Trapp, Co-founder and
CTO of tyntec. "By integrating the IP and mobile SMS world, companies
can drive revenues and increase demographic and geographic reach quickly
and simply. This is why virtual numbers will be so important in 2013