WHAT THE MEDIA SAY: Messages mixed over SMS surge

Organisation: Mobile Data Association/Microsoft

Issue: SMS

E-mail is passe, phonecalls are old hat, but texting is the season's new

chic in mobile telecoms. According to figures released by the Mobile

Data Association last week, Short Messaging Service (SMS) text messages

are predicted to hit the one billion per month mark in August.

MDA spokesperson and BT Wireless executive Mike Short stated that while

there was a 'general uplift' in SMS text messaging, August figures were

likely to receive an additional boost from young people on holiday and

the receipt of A-level results (The Guardian, 23/8). 'Not bad for an

application in which mobile phone companies once had no faith' (The

Mirror, 24/8).

The ability to send text-based notes via SMS has exhibited exponential

growth in Europe, as teenagers, and twentysomethings in particular, have

thrown their collective enthusiasm behind the service. The interest in

SMS, while 'the more sophisticated attractions of WAP and wireless

internet, have so far failed to capture the imagination', was reported

to have taken the mobile operators by surprise (David Teather, FT.com,


Microsoft's MSN spotted the opportunity, however, following the MDA

announcement with news that it was to provide two-way SMS messaging

between mobile devices and its 20 million European Hotmail (MSN's free

e-mail service) customers. In joining together the popularity of SMS

with millions of Hotmail users, MSN hoped not only to enhance

Microsoft's strategy to bring 'its software products and Web offerings

to mobile devices', but also to introduce 'a long-sought kick-start to

the mobile computing industry' (zdnet.com, 23/8).

Although analysts supported Microsoft's new service as a good short-term

solution to boost the mobile computing industry, The Register and

readers of Geek.com were less impressed. 'Sam's opinion' highlighted the

potential 'security nightmares' that may ensue from coupling a

'notoriously unsecure wireless network' with a Hotmail service which

'has already been plagued... by viruses and security breaches' (geek.

com, 23/8).

But the likelihood that marketers would increasingly use the medium to

spread their messages was greeted with a less than enthusiastic, 'Now I

can get spammed on the move! >:-o' (geek.com, 23/8).

Analysis and commentary by Echo Research. More information can be found

at: www.echoResearch.com

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