Monday, September 21, 2015

The Death of SMS?

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SMS or Short Messaging Service, has been one of the longest and often used (and sometimes overused) form of mobile communication by both consumers and marketers.

But, with the rise of mobile chat applications such as Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat, Skype, Line, and even Facebook Messenger, it's not really surprising that we see a decline in overall SMS usage here in Malaysia.

We are already seeing a decline of total SMS sent in Q2 2014 vs Q2 2015 in Malaysia (13,193 mil vs 6,855 mil) by about 48%. And the usage still seems to be in a downward trend in 2015 in Q1 (7,768 mil) vs Q2 (6,855 mil). That's a reduction of 10% usage in just one quarter alone!

Source: Communication and Multimedia Pocket Book of Statistics, Q2 2015, MCMC Malaysia.

In the near future, mobile chat applications would probably replace SMS as a preferred form of future text communication as it gives the user more flexibility as well as options. Mobile chat applications allows:
  • Real-time response
  • Multi user participation (groups) 
  • Sharing of files 
  • Most importantly - No extra charges to send a message if you're on a data plan or using WiFi
The SMS usage numbers will only decline even further within these 2-3 years as more mobile chat applications become available, mobile data prices becomes more affordable and smartphone usage increases.

However, one thing to note that while SMS usage is on the decline, it's still regarded as a more reliable form of messaging compared to chat applications. SMS is also available as a default to all mobile phones, while chat applications are still very fragmented in nature, meaning, not everyone are on the same chat platform or application as you.

So whether SMS will still be around in the next few years remain to be seen, but the days of SMS are certainly numbered!

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