SMS Still Not Picking Up in U.S.

While telecommunications industry officials say they’re interested in establishing a range of advanced IP-based messaging products, especially in the wireless area, many don’t see a clear path to profitability by using the technologies, according to a new study from the International Engineering Consortium (IEC).

The IEC interviewed more than 100 telecom executives at companies involved in both domestic and international telecommunications. The study, Advanced Messaging: Killer App or Niche Market?, found most carriers, telecom vendors and analysts agree that service providers will have to deploy some form of advanced messaging among their consumer and small-business feature sets over the next two years. The providers would introduce such services to open up new revenue streams beyond simple voice transport.

That same group, though, believes that messaging will not produce one single “killer application,” and that carriers should instead look at messaging as one more tool with which to create value for the customer.

Respondents were asked about deployment prospects for such messaging products as short message service (SMS) [define ] text messages, instant messaging for wireless calling, multimedia messaging service (MMS), unified messaging and unified communications, and the reach of presence and availability services into wireless. Responses to all queries centered on the near-term future — deployment over the next two years.

Some of the specific results released by the IEC include:

  • 62 percent of the total response group says that two years from now, North American SMS will still not have achieved the large take-up rates it has already earned in Europe and Asia.
  • 63 percent of carriers say that unified communications (UC) — picking up and responding to messages in whatever medium the receiver chooses — will be a “killer app.” Only 35 percent of vendors and analysts agree with the killer app analysis, though.
  • Asked to point to obstacles to UC in today’s marketplace, vendors and analysts most often cite the lack of an interoperable UC-ready infrastructure. For carriers, the most frequent concern is the absence of a clear path to profitability from UC.

    Companies and organizations that participated in the May, 2002 study include Alcatel, AT&T Wireless, Cisco, Ericsson, George Washington University, Nextel and Verizon.

Reprinted from Instant Messaging Planet, an internet.com site

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