Forecast: Mobile messaging traffic to double by 2017, still led by SMS


Worldwide mobile messaging traffic is on pace to grow from 14.7 trillion messages per year in 2012 to 28.2 trillion in 2017, Juniper Research forecasts.

Despite the growing threat posed by over-the-top messaging apps, SMS traffic will continue to drive more traffic than rival services, boosted by its ubiquity, reach and reliability, Juniper states. Beyond SMS, established IP services like IM, email and social messaging will also drive significant traffic in the years ahead.

Although many operators in Western Europe and other developed markets have committed to launching so-called "rich communication suite" mobile messaging services supporting video communications and other enhanced features, Juniper anticipates RCS initiatives such as joyn will generate just 83 billion messages a year by 2017, representing less than 1 percent of total anticipated messaging traffic.

More than 45 percent of smartphone owners now use some form of instant messaging or over-the-top messaging app in addition to or instead of traditional SMS, according to a survey issued by Analysys Mason. In addition, 20 percent of consumers use a VoIP app, and 20 percent within that segment use it more than conventional voice services. OTT apps have fully replaced operator services for only a small percentage of consumers, however: Just 1.7 percent of respondents use IM/OTT messaging without using SMS, but 97 percent still use SMS.

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