?3.6bn of Additional SMS Revenue Is Overlooked by Global Mobile Operators Each Year

Anam Mobile has revealed that global mobile operators are losing out on as much as ?3.6billion (?2.4billion) of revenue per year through lost opportunities to create value-added SMS messages. Anam's review considers how operators can increase the average value of each text message sent across their networks.

Text messaging has grown into a phenomenally popular form of communication, with research from the telecoms analyst company Informa Telecoms & Media revealing that over 600 billion messages were sent worldwide during the first quarter of this year over 75 messages for every mobile subscriber. Yet many operators are focussing on other, less well-established, data applications as they aim to increase ARPU and profitability.

By introducing new data services through SMS, operators can tap into the existing level of comfort that consumers already feel when using the short, 160 character format. This approach will make it easier for new services to be adopted and can attach real value to the messages that individuals already send.

Currently, a large proportion of text messages are included as part of bundled deals provided by operators and therefore are, in effect, free to the customer. This means that each individual message has a low perceived value to the user and almost no financial value to the operator.

However, there are many applications that could potentially be introduced to consumers through SMS. If the subscriber is able to use SMS to interact with their device in a more efficient, more enjoyable or more productive way, then they will be willing to pay a small additional fee for those SMS messages. The subscriber will accept that these messages fall outside of the 'free' text bundles, or add on a new bundle to their service plan; SMS messages are one of the few services that the user will always know how to use on their mobile phone.

Examples of the kind of services that could be introduced by operators to increase the value of text messages include:
- SMS money transfer: a service that allows global money transfers to contacts in your address book, merely by sending an SMS;
- Corporate functionality for your mobile: providing, amongst other things, a text message 'out-of-office' alert for your mobile phone, copying text messages to email, allowing individuals to set when they can be contacted and avoiding calls or messages being received during busy meetings or when driving for example;
- Mobile advertising: placing targeted ads inside text messages as they are sent that offer specific deals or offers. These could be offered free to users as advertisers fund the service.

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