Text messaging set to rocket next year

More than seven trillion SMS messages will be sent next year, according to ABI Research.

And while it might seem that the average teenager is now bashing out that many text messages single-handed, the number actually represents the combined activity of nearly 4.2 billion mobile users, says the firm.

Users are becoming increasingly casual about text messaging, says ABI, thanks to falling delivery costs and high competition.

“When these trends towards commoditization are combined with the wider adoption of mobile email and IM services, the revenue proportion of SMS and MMS against the market total is expected to decline,” says industry analyst Aapo Markkanen.

However, email’s more familiar for many consumers, he says.

“Due to relatively low PC penetration in emerging regions, for many consumers across Latin America, Africa, and south Asia mobile devices will provide the primary screen for accessing email,” he says. This won’t be restricted to smartphones: many companies are developing solutions to allow more basic handsets to handle email.”

Messaging is also taking off as a tool for the enterprise, as well as for individuals. As ABI points out, it’s universal, cost-effective and reliable – and most people have their phones with them and switched on most of the time.

However, ABI believes that the rate of mobile phone adoption generally will gradually decline over the next five years, and growth in number of new customers starting to use messaging will likewise slow gradually.

The company says that the future of mobile messaging will increasingly be in unified toolkits that mash up and converge text and multimedia messages, IM chats, emails and voicemails.