SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Predictions for 2009 – from Airwide

Posted by Admin on December 10, 2008

As is common at this time of year, people are starting to predict what the new year holds in store. Personally, I’ve no idea what to expect really, so I’m pleased that other people have been able to some thinking and make some predictions.

Here Chris Lennartz, VP of Product Marketing at Airwide Solutions makes some educated guesses about 2009.

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1. Mobile messaging to defy economic downturn – Mobile messaging will continue to grow despite the current downturn in the global economy. As revenues increase, mobile messaging will be seen as the lifeline to the mobile industry. It will fuel the growth in mobile data services and will in turn steer mobile operators, device OEMs and content providers through the tricky times ahead. Our predictions support recent figures from ABI research which state that revenues from mobile messaging services will grow from $151 billion in 2008 to $212 billion by 2013. Whilst these figures are good news for the industry, they also underline the need to ensure that an operator’s underlying infrastructure is highly efficient and therefore equipped to support the increase in traffic volumes over the years ahead.

2. Less developed regions to fuel peaks in SMS activity – Most new subscribers to mobile services will come from less economically developed and newly industrialised regions, many of whom have a low disposable income. Most of the phones shipped to these markets have little more than voice and text capabilities so the growth potential for SMS in these markets will be significant.

3. Personalisation comes of age – In the Western world, we expect much of the growth in mobile messaging to come from personalised services. Customers will demand more from their operators so differentiating the services an operator can offer its subscribers through added features such as enterprise based mobile applications, email, out-of-office, auto-forward and storage/back-up capabilities will be key to not only enhancing the mobile experience but also increasing ARPU and offsetting losses in voice.

4. Mobile marketing and advertising surges ahead – Operators will also continue to generate revenues through mobile marketing and advertising – a development which in 2009 will see the introduction of location based mobile advertising. The key to success will be to incorporate a multimedia and multi-platform approach to ensure that it becomes a natural and valuable extension of the consumer.

5. Mobile internet overtakes PC based internet use – The use of the mobile internet will increase significantly by the end of 2009. According to IBM more than 50 per cent of consumers would substitute their PC based internet connection for their mobile. As the majority of new phones come with internet access as standard we predict that more people will access the internet from their mobile than their PC by the end of 2009.

6. Focus on mobile security increases as mobile commerce comes of age – As mobile phones increase in sophistication (especially smartphones), the value of the data they carry will mean greater attention will be paid to mobile security. Subscribers will expect mobile operators to take greater security measures to protect their personal data such as social security numbers, PIN codes, passwords, company financial data and other proprietary data – a fact which will become more important as mobile commerce takes off. At the moment buying travel tickets and basic consumables via the mobile internet has been popular in Japan and Korea but soon this will move to Europe and the US. An independent survey commissioned by Airwide Solutions found that 5.6 million people in the EU already access financial information from their mobile phones – a 23.6 per cent jump from the same time last year. These figures support data from the Nielsen Company which found that 9.2 million Americans have used their mobile phones to pay for goods and services. Although this is encouraging for the mobile industry, consumers must be aware of phishing scams which can steal financial information.

7. China fuels MMS uptake – The use of MMS will continue to grow especially in China where MMS is booming. Its growth will be helped by ever improving handsets and the demand for user generated content, blogging, social networking and mobile marketing. Juniper Research predicts revenues from MMS to top $16 billion in 2009. However, for this to happen mobile operators must ensure that their infrastructure and marketing is equipped to target MMS.

8. The digital youth drives changes in communication – The rise of social networks will continue and this will impact upon mobile messaging traffic as more and more people use their mobile phones to update their profiles remotely and blog on the move. It will be interesting to see what the behaviour of the digital youth will lead to as they have proven that they prefer social networking, blogging and text messaging over voice. Will this lead to the end of the voicemail as we know it?

9. Mobiles go green – As more emphasis is placed on environmentally friendly technologies, will greater attention be paid to handset recycling initiatives? With only 1 per cent of mobile handsets recycled each year globally, 65 to 85 per cent could be re-used. However, for this to be successful mobile operators must have comprehensive EIR systems in place to ensure that all mobile equipment is tracked and logged and any invalid handsets blocked from operating on mobile networks.


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