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Instant messaging use to triple in five years, says Juniper Research

A new report published by Juniper Research forecasts that the number of mobile IM (Instant Messaging) users will exceed 1.3 billion by 2016.


June 22, 2011  


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A new report published by Juniper Research forecasts that the number of mobile IM (Instant Messaging) users will exceed 1.3 billion by 2016.

This tripling of users from last year will be driven by the arrival of new services, such as Apple’s iMessage, and continued growth of existing services, such as AOL’s AIM, Blackberry Messenger, Microsoft’s Windows Live, Skype and Yahoo! Messenger.

The launch of these free Mobile IM services has been facilitated by the increasing number of smart phones in use, low-cost data packages and the development of high speed mobile networks.

While some IM services are ad-funded, most are viewed by the operators as customer retention tools, with the only cost to the user being the data usage charged. However, the report finds that, while users of these services will grow, they will not challenge SMS as the primary means of text communication on mobile handsets.

Mobile Messaging Markets Report author Daniel Ashdown said “SMS has one distinct advantage over ‘over-the-top’ services: its ubiquity. With an SMS I know I can reach almost any handset in the world, if I have its number. While IM services have some advantages, such as real-time communication and apparent absence of cost, the market is fragmented by different services which cannot communicate with each other.”

The report states that revenue from Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS will exceed US$70 billion by 2016, overtaking Person-to-Person (P2P) during that year. A2P messaging – defined as those messages which are sent to or from an application – has a wide variety of use-cases, including financial services, ticketing, and any other service involving sending or receiving a large number of messages.

A Mobile Messaging whitepaper is available to view on www.juniperresearch.com together with further details of the study ‘Mobile Messaging Markets: SMS, MMS, IM & Email Strategies 2011-2016.’