Mobile messaging, especially SMS-based messaging, has seen a resurgence of usage in the US market; however, it is not necessarily carrier-based SMS that has grown.  There are a growing number of messaging apps and services that have been launched and announced, and services such as iMessage are just around the corner.   This runs somewhat counter to recent industry and general press, were we’ve seen articles stating that “SMS is dead (or dying)” and that non-SMS “chat” services are displacing true, mobile-SMS interoperable services.    Certainly, in some markets, non-SMS “chat” services have cannibalized some SMS revenues – especially outside of the USA and Canada, but in general mobile operator SMS (as we know it) is alive and well.  

Sybase 365 recently released the results of our Global Operator Survey, covering the IP Exchange (IPX) technology.  Three hundred fifty-three operators were surveyed online, with an additional eleven one-on-one interviews.    This resulted in a very interesting cache of data from a variety of operators and service providers, worldwide.  I intend to publish a number of blog entries, based on the results of our survey.  This one is the first.

… to read the various headlines such as from BBC, or FierceContent, (and quite a few more — not all of them, mind you, but quite a few) you might get the idea that here is something that will be the true “SMS killer.”  Notwithstanding the over-imaginative headlines, I think Facebook Messenger is nothing more than an expansion of the popular online-based Facebook “chat” service.  I would suspect that this is more of a threat to various Instant Messaging (IM) services than it is to SMS.   The problem with IM is that the various communities have never really been interoperable with one another (which makes for good business for products such as Trillian by Cerulean Studios – users may sign into multiple IM communities using a single client or app).

It has been well-reported in the industry media over the past few months about the continued, explosive growth of mobile messaging – especially SMS and, in many markets, MMS. Either as a result, or despite this success, there are a few gray clouds trying to obscure this success with short-sided improvements and changes.

As it is now the middle of November, the iPhone has now been launched (without MMS, of course) in the UK and Germany.  Additionally, China Mobile announced at this week’s GSM Asia Congress in Macau that they are in negotiations with Apple over bringing the iPhone to China.  In fact, the sales figures are estimated around 23 million units, during the first year. 

On Friday, 29 June, 2007-at 6:00 PM local time-a new direction may have been set for mobile messaging. That was the date the Apple iPhone went on sale in the U.S. The Apple iPhone sold 270,000 units by the end of Q2, and AT&T activated 146,000 subscribers on June 29 and 30, with more than 40% of them new to AT&T.  By the week of September 10th, Apple surpassed 1 million units. For better or worse-love it or hate it-the iPhone is destined to have a direct impact on the mobile world.