Over the last 4 to 5 years, the world has witnessed a meteoric rise of a variety of Over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps – both for consumers and enterprises. Today, there are a dizzying variety of texting choices — most of them operating as “islands” (albeit some are exceedingly large – WhatsApp with over 500 million monthly active users [MAUs] is a prime example); however, in some markets such as the United States and Canada, SMS-interoperable OTT messaging solutions have garnered the majority share of OTT messaging apps (we call these SMS-enabled OTT messaging providers: NUVOs – for Network Unaffiliated Virtual Operators).
When you think of SMS messaging, typically people refer to messaging via mobile phones through Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). Over the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of the so-called NUVOs – Network Unaffiliated Virtual Operator – a type of OTT service provider who offers phone number based and app-based messaging on smart devices that also interworks with the existing SMS ecosystem. This means that a NUVO subscriber can send and receive messages from an AT&T or a T-Mobile or Verizon subscriber.
A few days ago, BBC News published: “Payments by text message service to launch in UK in Spring 2014.” I found this story fascinating – not that payments may be made by text message, as it’s been done for years in various markets such as in Kenya. One can also send money via smartphones, using apps, today as well. No, what is fascinating is that text messaging is once again the bearer of this payment information.
For the sixth consecutive year, I am happy and honored to offer my 2013 mobile industry predictions, along with a review of how well I did for 2012. This year has been another banner year for mobile: Everything from Apple news to networks (LTE deployments and RCS as well) to mobile commerce. Today, an ever-increasing number of subscribers are using smartphones and that is a growing, worldwide phenomenon. In fact, in many markets, smartphone penetration has exceeded 50% and continues to grow.
The 2012 Mobile World Congress is now in the history books. All of the 60,000+ delegates have returned home with renewed excitement about this multi-trillion dollar industry and the energy generated at this annual ritual of the mobile industry.
No, this won’t be a 2012 type prediction of Armageddon! But the mobile industry has begun the inevitable and likely irrevocable evolution towards an all IP ecosystem. This also means that services – basic services such as voice and messaging have already begun to go IP – or “over-the-top” (OTT) ahead of equivalent offerings from the network providers themselves.