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September 28, 2012



How will these numbers change when businesses heed Tomi's advice and start sending spam over SMS en masse?


"If you liked SMS, you will love MMS"


Please ... this is a 10 years old moto
As well, SMS has not the limit of 160 chars, since ages. Long SMS is supported in every phone every network.

MMS has been defined by engineers under drugs, the outcome was a lot of incompatibility and a junky standard.
But, let adming this: MMS did open the era of smartphone and cameraphone. Still MMS service after 10 years of the introduction, it is still rarely used, and for a reason!

MMS is showing that when telecom enter in the IT world, telecom people are a bit "rookies" compared to IT people.




When I still had a working mobile phone, I had a couple of 'opt in' spams quite rarely - and even that was pretty annoying. It wouldn't take many of those to completely kill the 'must respond to machine beeping at me' attitude SMS tends to promulgate and which leads to these 'amazing' stats.

SMS is too expensive here anyway. I stopped using it and just call people voice - cheaper, faster, and a more accurate response with less dicking about. And without that there was little reason to even have a mobile.


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Thanks for your discussion about speed and power of SMS. I like it very much.


What are the benefits of MMS over an email (for personal purposes, not for advertisement, which is quite annoying actually) ?

Most of time, MMS use mobile-Data connections. So when you're abroad, and you receive a MMS, you'll pay full rate for the data and the roaming, with no other choice but receiving it.

In another hand, an email account is checked only whenever you want, and can use wi-fi connection, which can be free, or at least cheaper than mobile-data.

Of course, you can block MMS reception abroad, but what's the point ? What's the benefit over the email ?

Ok, roaming is a special case; you can tell me that there is no Data price if you're staying at your homeland... then, you receive the MMS almost as soon as it's sent, with no need for a registration.

Well, one reason why people averagely read an email in 48 hours is that... they're people, not microprocessors ! Email is not an interrupt which requires to stop any running treatment to process a specific procedure.

Email is a passive mode of reception (you have to check it)

SMS/MMS is an active mode of reception : you receive it, that's it.

Now, let's consider the common situation of an annoying person who tries to reach you, but you don't want to answer :

Email : you don't want to be annoyed, you don't read the mails.
SMS/MMS : you receive a message, your cellphone rings... you ignore the message, you get another message after 10 minutes... and again and again... finally you get p***ed off all that, turn the ringtone off, and miss an important call.

It's a bit of a caricature, but not that far of the reality I think.

SPAM I receive in my email at 3am is annoying as it fills my box
SPAM I receive by MMS at 3am is MORE than annoying, as it fills my cellphone AND wakes me up.

P.S. what are the amount of emails user/emails account VS SMS users ?



" 2.3 Billion total internet users" ... 5.9B are SMS users ...

Since you need internet for have email, emails users can't be more then 2.3B



Ps: get SMS in roaming can be also expensive ... like mms .. it is all about telecom business models ... anyhow MMS has been badly engendered, and SMS has been killed in LTE ... telecoms engineers are still taking drugs :-)


To be honest MMS in my opinion is the most unuseful thing ever, I remember when some idiot came up with them in the era when maybe 0,01% of phones could read emails.

Everytime I got a new phone I never bothered to setup MMS. When some one wanted to send me 2x1 pixel picture of something useless I just told them to use email if it's so important. Usually it wasn't.

Can't believe that they charged, maybe some operators still do, one Euro per MMS at some point!

Like charging old grannies five Euros per bill in the bank instead of e-banking.

The only thing why SMS messages prompt a quick answer is that with all likelihood it's not a spam message.

Tomi, you need to get over MMS and move on :) let's keep kicking Nokia, what about them being late with the new Lumias? Everyone's locked to their new iPhone 5's or Galaxies for the next two years, that's about 99 percent of all the high end smartphone customers. When the Lumias finally launch there are no more people looking for high end phones left.
If some one was waiting for Lumia there's ample time for his buddies, co-workers etc. to laugh at him and for him to go and buy a Galaxy S3


I see SMS just as one form of Instant messaging. It is instant messaging which is increasing a lot on behalf of E-mail. But the youth doesn't care of what technology the message is being sent over. SMS, Facebook chat, messanger, Gtalk, Skype etc etc.. they are all just a form of Instant Messaging.


@Elm :
If the 7B cellphone users (5.9B SMS users) include people who have more than one SIM card, why don't we include people who have multiple email addresses as internet/email users.

I mean, for cellphone it's okay to say one user = one SIM card (even if in reality one user = one or more SIM cards, so in the statistics there are more "human" cellphone users than humans on the planet), but the same can't be said with emails?


good thing about SMS-spam is that it costs money, every time i get an SMS-spam message, it does not stand a much better chance at being read than spam-email.

MMS is a crummy standard IMO, picture quality is horrible, the setup is a mess, it's basically just hype for hooking up to a server to download small pictures/text/sound files, or some ultra grainy video..



I can agree with your that in the rich countries eMail is more used the SMS.
Probably even IM is more popular the SMS now in some segment of the population.
But in emerging market, SMS is still the #1 IM services, due to a massive penetration.

With LTE, SMS and Voice are becoming pure IMS services ... so ... nothing much different then Skype services with integration to SMS and Voice over the legacy users ...

So ... with LTE, the telecom is in big risk to become just a pipeline of data, like a normal home internet provider.

About this I would like to hear what is Tomi opinion, and the opinion of other experts here like you.



ps: About LTE, personally I don't get it ... the cost of mobile data is very high, monthly fix cost, have a limited number of GB allowed as data transfer ... already with UMTS/HSPDA the speed is high enough to make a huge bill or consume the monthly bundle in few hours ... so ... this LTE mania ... I don't get it ;-)


I suppose I know only countries that already emerged... so my knowledge is quite limited. Thank you for considering me as an expert, but I'm just a user, and I try to open my eyes, listen to my feelings and to others opinion. I haven't worked for mobile industry since 2000.

About LTE I couldn't agree more with you. LTE is such a wonderful marketing thing...


How can there be 5.9 billion active SMS users when you share in other postings that there are only 5.8 billion mobile phones in active use and only 4.2 billion mobile phone users in the world? #confused


Wow! this is great! I enjoyed reading this post, really helps me actually very informative, I find it very informative.

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So ... with LTE, the telecom is in big risk to become just a pipeline of data, like a normal home internet provider.

About this I would like to hear what is Tomi opinion, and the opinion of other experts here like you.


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Tomi, I read that, according to a recent study, for the first time SMS appears to have reached a plateau, or even that it is starting to decline!

If this is confirmed, it would be quite an event. What do you make of it?

Thanks again for your insight, as usual.

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Each of these services tests your "download speed" and your "upload speed" for data traveling to and from your computer to the internet. I suggest you run these tests over several days to see if there is a pattern to the results. The tests take mere seconds to run.

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Alright, I can agree with your that in the rich countries eMail is more used the SMS.
Probably even IM is more popular the SMS now in some segment of the population!

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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