Over the last 20+ years, we’ve all seen the headlines predicting the demise of SMS messaging. 

Yet, here we are in May 2021, and SMS is still a powerhouse messaging channel. In many markets, SMS is still the leading Person-to-Person messaging channel. And throughout the world, it remains one of the, if not the, most popular business messaging channels.  We’re now seeing RCS starting to face similar headlines.

It is once again time for my annual (14th consecutive to be specific) predictions for the mobile industry.  When I wrote last year’s predictions, I (and really no one) could have foreseen the momentous events that 2020 brought the world.  From the global COVID-19 pandemic to the significant Black Lives Matter protests, and actions, climate-related events, to the US presidential election, its aftermath and more.  All have impacted the wireless / mobile industry, but in many ways, the mobile industry has responded well to the pandemic, which has been the overriding issue for the planet in 2020.

The 3GPP 5G standards absolutely support SMS!

5G, the next wireless data standard is actively being deployed around the world. 5G will promise greater data speeds, more capacity, and a better wireless experience for all. But will it affect the messaging sector?  I’ve read and heard (during presentations, events [back when we could attend trade shows]) that the “messaging standard for 5G is RCS,” and that “SMS won’t exist in 5G.”  Well, I’m happy to say that these statements are blatantly untrue.

At the beginning of 2019, we were in an extended government shutdown, but that blip is now ancient history. Since then, so much has happened – much of it good, but some of it not so good. 5G became a commercial reality; IoT flourished, but both also managed to disappoint in some areas. In our messaging world, rich communication services (RCS) gained ground, but mobile operators lagged, despite many actions from Google. Still, gains were made in all of these key areas.