Mobile Instant Messaging Growing Fast, May Overtake SMS, Mobile Email

April 28, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Email | Technology | Telecom

SMS (texting) and mobile email may well be overtaken by mobile instant messaging (MIM),?according to a TNS Global Telecoms Insight (GTI) survey of 17,000 consumers across 30 countries.

Globally, 11 of 100 messages sent by mobile devices or fixed PC are instant messages, the survey found, and 8% of all mobile users use MIM.

Among those who use MIM…

  • 36 of 100 messages sent is an MIM; 61% use it daily.
  • 23 per 100 messages is an SMS (compared with the 38:100 SMS message ratio for all consumers) and 55% use SMS daily.
  • 21 of 100 messages is a fixed email (compared with 31 for consumers overall); just 12% use mobile email.

“Once a mobile phone user has access to the internet from their handset, the cost of instant messaging is next to nothing, as the only cost is a very small data transfer fee,” said Matthew Froggatt, Managing Director of Global Technology for TNS.

“With consumers being accustomed to instant messaging from their PC from companies like Yahoo and MSN, and more mobile operators offering unlimited use of web browsers, the take up of MIM is going to increase significantly – leaving SMS and fixed email from PC behind.”

Globally, the highest number of MIM users compared to overall mobile subscribers is in Hong Kong (23%). In other emerging markets, such as India (15%), Brazil, (10%), and China – where 16% of the country’s 500 million subscribers in its largest cities use MIM – there is evidence that MIM has “leapfrogged” other methods of messaging to become the preferred entry-level non-voice communication tool.

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