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January 15, 2010

SMS Still the Frontline of Mobile Communication: Clickatell

By Hans Lewis, TMCnet Contributor

Over the years, mobile communication has transformed from a mere convenience to an absolute must-have, both in the US and globally. In the United States, mobility is most commonly used for social connections, and is gaining momentum for high value transactions and mobile services such as banking, healthcare, government, and more, albeit on a slower scale, especially when compared to other, developing regions around the world.

In other regions of the world, SMS is being used for critical banking functions and other mobile services such as airtime top ups, bill payments, real-time payments, lottery, remittances, point of sale payment, and more. The U.S. is concentrating heavily on the smart phone market, which has yet to reach critical mass adoption, which equates to future revenue. Most enterprises and financial institutions are clearly looking to increase the all-important bottom line today. Regardless, we believe US-centric companies will continue to focus on iPhone and other smart devices.
Today, there are roughly four mobile phone users worldwide for every one computer user. When looking at the numbers, it is clear that SMS is still the widest reaching communications tool available today
From its global vantage point, Clickatell (News - Alert), which is a global leader in mobile communications specializing in SMS messaging as a service, says that it sees many of the world's top carriers realizing strong revenue streams from messaging fees paid by businesses because the implementation process provides for quick and easy access. The company believes A2P SMS revenue would thrive if U.S. carriers would consider the following:
1. Reduce the fees for short codes and/or allow long numbers to be used for A2P messaging.
2. Streamline the service review and approval process from months to weeks or days.
3. Continue to enforce the opt-in/opt-out and objectionable content rules to ensure responsible use.
As the mobile industry continues to flourish, they consider that the US market and many others around the world will provide innovative mobile offerings, making lives better and more convenient. Each of these markets would benefit greatly if they would come together and learn from each other's successes and failures.
In predicting the 2010 U.S. mobile messaging landscape, Clickatell reflected on 2009, a year, which many predicted, would see the demise of SMS (being made obsolete by mobile IM and e-mail). But, in reality, SMS continue to remain the long-standing 'killer app' on the mobile phone. Last month, Gartner made its Mobile Predictions, projecting that SMS money transfers will be the number one mobile application in 2012. In fact, Clickatell itself has seen tremendous growth in the application-to-person (A2P) SMS segment as the 'tip of the spear' to offer a wide variety of mobile services being used on a global scale.
What’s been very encouraging for the SMS technology to prevail is the adoption and adaptation of it in several countries. In Afghanistan, small business owners absolutely depend on mobility to bank; in South Africa, people use their mobile phone to purchase insurance; in India, farmers are using SMS to track crop prices; in Iraq people are 'listening' in to President Obama's historic speeches. These are just a few examples, and testimony to the wide selection of life-changing and awe-inspiring necessities using the simplicity and mass ubiquity of mobile text messaging, especially when looking at underdeveloped and developing regions.
Read here, how Clickatell has introduced SMS Receipts which is a text messaging service for alerting financial service providers and customers from fraud. Clickatell SMS Receipts and other text notifications are sent directly to cell phones so that customers can scrutinize transactions as and when they happen.
This is the first part of a series of Clickatell's 'Mobile State of the Union.' Next quarter, Clickatell’s CEO Peter de Villiers will take a closer look at another specific region and share his views on the mobile landscape.


Hans Lewis is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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