SMS Still Most Important Messaging Svc for Smartphone Owners

May 10, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Connected Device Comparisons | Data-driven | Men | Mobile Phone | Social Media | Technology | Telecom | Women

acision-smartphone-messaging-preferences-may2012.jpgDespite having the ability to access different over the top (OTT) and instant messaging (IM) services on their devices, SMS is still the clear leader among smartphone owners when it comes to messaging, finds Acision in May 2012 survey results. 91% of the smartphone owners responding to the survey said they actively use SMS, compared to just 55% who use alternatives. The main reasons for preferring SMS were core capabilities, such as speed of delivery (47%), reach (43%), and reliability (38%), while the top reasons for choosing OTT/IM services were content sharing (28%), speed (27%), and the ability to work across devices (25%). Just 4% of smartphone owners said that IM is more reliable and faster than SMS.

According to survey results released in May 2012 by Rebtel, when mobile owners were asked which applications they would most likely use as an alternative to their traditional carrier minutes or data plan services, 34% said they would utilize a text messaging service, with women far more likely than men to indicate this (43.6% vs. 30.6%). 14.1% indicated they would utilize an instant messaging app, with women again more likely to say this (19.2% vs. 14.1%).

OTT/IM Services Seen Fragmented

Data from the Acision study indicates that the 5 most popular OTT/IM services actively used by smartphone owners are: Facebook (37%); Skype (17%); Twitter (17%); Apple iMessage (11%); and Blackberry Messenger (10%). The only operating system-independent smartphone application, WhatsApp, was used by only 5% of the respondents.

According to February 2012 data from Ovum, despite relatively low take-up of OTT/IM services, consumers’ use of IP-based social messaging services on their smartphones cost telecom operators $13.9 billion in lost SMS revenues in 2011, or 9% of total messaging revenue.

Dropped Calls, Slow Internet Connection Key Problems

Text messaging costs do not appear to be a big hindrance to smartphone and tablet users, according to [download page] May 2012 survey results from Prosper Mobile Insights. Asking more than 300 smartphone and tablet owners which problems they have experienced with their mobile device service provider, just 11.6% said indicated that their cost of texting was too high. By comparison, 36.9% said they had experienced a slow internet connection, 32% said the cost of their data plan was too high, and 24.1% said they had experienced dropped calls.

Dropped calls certainly appear to be a problem for mobile users: data from a Rebtel survey also released in May 2012 indicates that roughly 2 in 5 mobile users said they had experienced more than 5 dropped calls per month.

Other Findings:

  • According to the Acision survey results, 52% of US smartphone users would use an operator OTT-type service that would include IM, file transfer, group chat, and video sharing, and allow them to exchange messages with all SMS and MMS users.
  • Close to 3 in 10 smartphone owners would be willing pay for enhanced SMS-based personalized services, with the most attractive features being message delivery notifications (36%), black/white listing (33%), and group messaging (32%).
  • US mobile owners (feature phone and smartphones) send an average of 107 SMS messages per week.
  • 78% of respondents to the Rebtel survey said they would be likely to switch carriers due to poor performance.
  • Male respondents to the Rebtel survey were 90% more likely than female respondents to use a mobile VoIP application as an alternative to their carrier’s regular calling service (38% vs. 20%).
  • Women were 47% more likely than men to use a text messaging service as an alternative to their carrier’s regular calling service.
  • iPhone users (81.5%) were less likely than Blackberry uses (85%) and Android users (86%) to say they would be likely to switch carriers due to poor call quality. They were also least likely to switch smartphones due to poor call quality.

About the Data: Acision’s mobile messaging research was conducted in January 2012 with a sample of 1,000 adults in the US. 61% are smartphone owners, and the remaining 39% own feature phones. The Prosper Mobile Insights survey was conducted from April 3 to April 27, 2012. Rebtel’s call quality survey was conducted on March 6, 2012 using SurveyMonkey, which polled 992 US mobile users.

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