IM hits SMS – networks must innovate for their users – fast.

IM hits SMS – networks must innovate for their users – fast.

Smartphones have become category killers for things we all thought were cool (as well as representing huge profitable revenues) – pagers, alarm clocks, calculators, satnav, cameras – and before long, handheld gaming, keys, healthcare monitoring amongst others will be hurt.

Now Smartphones have begun to bite the hand that feeds it. Research shows the 20 year rise of texting or SMS has declined in 2011 – with Ovum research calculating that global mobile operators having to account for some $14 Billion in lost texting revenues – some 60% more of a decline than in 2010.

Instant Messaging – Blackberry’s BBM & Apples’s iMessenger – are free to use, more fun and collaborative. While in the UK, texting remains on a high, most Smartphones are on pay monthly deals with 100s of texts bundled in the deal. So direct revenue from texts are reducing. ARPU is under threat. What should mobile networks do?

Time for the networks to adapt – they have a relationship with the user, and understand how the users have communicated with each other for years and should see the patterns emerging from which to innovate. They have the data. They have a relationship. Time to get useful.

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