Instant messaging apps are an even more potent force in the mobile ecosystem than we thought.
In our most recent report on mobile messaging, we outlined the trajectory of over-the-top (OTT) messaging services and apps, which work over an Internet connection and not over a wireless network like standard SMS texts do.
Our report indicated that OTT was on its way to catching up with SMS over the next few years.
But according to new findings from Informa, OTT has already surpassed SMS.
OTT messaging has grown exponentially since 2011, when Informa and Portio Research both pegged its volume at about 4 billion daily messages. By year-end 2013, daily OTT message traffic is expected to more than double the amount of daily SMS texts.
Clearly, increasing smartphone penetration is the catalyst behind this surge. The proliferation of mobile messaging services has also played a role.
The largest players are only getting larger: Apple’s proprietary iMessage service now delivers over 2 billion daily messages, while WhatsApp sports over 200 million active users. Smaller mobile messaging services geared toward younger demographics, like MessageMe and Snapchat, have also enjoyed popularity.
The next step for the OTT players is to effectively monetise their product, be it by embracing advertising, or through paid premium services and subscriptions.
Wireless carriers, on the other hand, must combat the OTT threat head-on since it may siphon revenue from their SMS text business at a greater rate than originally projected. Some carriers have introduced their own OTT apps. Others may gravitate toward partnerships with OTT services, or lean more heavily on charging for data instead of SMS and voice packages.