For many years the SMS service has been a cash cow for mobile network operators, given that the cost of each message for customers is far higher than the cost to transmit the data across the network. As a result, SMS revenue has accounted for a large proportion of overall mobile data revenue, though this is diminishing as consumers make use of a wider range of mobile data services. Nevertheless, the SMS service remains popular since the cost of an SMS is generally up to a third the cost of a phone call, while many recipients prefer the convenience of messages rather than the interruption of calls.
The preponderance of bundled plans which include a large number of texts and voice minutes has also helped to retain the popularity of messaging, though at the expense of SMS revenue for operators.
As has been seen in a number of international markets, the volume of SMS has come under pressure in recent years from other messaging services, commonly from within social media platforms, or from services such as WhatsApp and Skype. This trend is likely to continue. Despite the market effect of such services, the ACCC in June 2014 decided that the SMS market would henceforth be regulated, arguing that the cost of messages remained high and that negotiated price agreements among operators had failed to keep their charges for the service in line with costs
This report provides an overview of the mobile data SMS market in Australia, including SMS usage statistics, and analysis of key market trends.
For information on premium SMS, where messages are sent between content providers and subscribers, see separate report: Australia - Mobile Media - PSMS Portals and Apps.
Short Messaging Services (SMS), PSMS, MMS, regulations, iMessage, OTT services, increases in sexting causing concern, revenue
Companies covered in this report include:
Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, VHA.