Summary: Operators are competing with large bundles of ‘free’ text messages. This pricing prevents text over IP or other apps taking off, but there is still a long way to go to grow data usage.
There is still alot of work to be done to grow data usage across the business and consumer base. One of the challenges is working out pricing. In Ireland, they are trialling €49 per month unlimited plan. In T-mobile UK they have a £7.50 unlimited data plan but services like Skype are barred.
SMS conferencing aka Text over IP or chat based services - Operators are still bringing the prices down on SMS and so this summer in Europe we are seeing specials including upto 1000 free text messages when customers topup their prepaid phone. Data bearer charges can’t compete on this as yet and more than likely wont be able to.
With a different user experience, most SMS applications become difficult use and require customers to buy credit online first. However there is some growth in this area, Australia has http://mig33.com and South Africa has http://revotxt.co.za.
We think typical customer usage will be so low as to only be of interest to the price sensitive prepaid customer who is already sim-swapping. In the final analysis, the operators still have the direct network connection and reliability to deliver an SMS in near real time that its easier to send a text saying ‘hi what you doing?’ then it is to pick up the phone and call.Tags:
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