Mobile Instant Messaging a threat for SMS?

According to a recent study of TNS Technology Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) is set to cannibalise SMS (texting) and eventually email from PC. The TNS Global Telecoms Insight (GTI) study has found that once mobile users adopt MIM it overtakes other messaging tools.

The key findings of this study:

  • Of all messages sent by MIM users (email, SMS, IM, …), 36 out of every 100 messages sent is an Instant Message by their mobile, making MIM by far the most used messaging medium.
  • People who use MIM, use SMS significantly less (compared to all consumers): 23 out of 100 messages is an SMS (compared to 38 for all consumers)
  • Globally 8% of all users are MIM users, with the highest number of users in Hong Kong (23%). Also in China and some developing countries, MIM adoption is leapfrogging other communication means.

Mobile Instant Messaging a threat for SMS?
These findings challenge the strategies of the mobile operators in European countries that have heavily benefited from SMS usage. Do they try and keep consumers focused on SMS to maintain their revenue base, or offer consumers more choice in messaging?  With increasing internet functionality on new mobile phones, and MIM’s strong mass market appeal, operators may have no choice but to promote this feature more widely.

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