We recently sat down with Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer at GMS. With 15+ years of deep involvement in the expansion of mobile messaging, there is no person more suited to tell us all about Messaging: past, present and future.
Q: What is the future of SMS messaging?
R: I am often asked this and what GMS as a company sees the future bringing. Well, the future is right before our eyes. There is and will continue to be, an enormous uptake in both A2P and P2P messaging in general and that is good news for the future of SMS.
Q: Do you think SMS as a form of Messaging is a legacy service?
R: I would beg to differ. Legacy implies that there is no future, but it’s not yet time to write off SMS messaging. People have been predicting the demise of P2P SMS in the face of competition from OTT players for years, but actually, in many parts of the world, MNOs have addressed this issue by using imaginative pricing offers, including messaging in monthly subscription plans, which has helped to sustain traffic.
Q: How might MNOs manage to maintain stable P2P traffic or grow it?
R: The cliché “A rising tide lifts all boats” fits very well when speaking of the messaging ecosystem, and P2P SMS messaging within that. For this very reason, in spite of the abundance of different messaging types and services, I feel traditional P2P messaging should be able to sustain its position.
Q: Will RCS have an impact on messaging traffic?
R: Google’s heavy promotion of RCS has meant that everybody in the messaging industry is definitely very much more aware of it and many are keen not to “miss the bus”. An impact will certainly be felt; how much and to what extent is still conjecture.
Q: Will RCS also impact P2P traffic?
R: Today’s subscribers are used to quasi-free services offered by OTT players — super cheap SMSs — so it is still going to be a question of finding the correct business model to ensure that RCS has a relevance in the P2P messaging business.
Q: Are you aware of any other services currently in development that could have an impact on messaging volumes?
R: There’s definitely a viewpoint now that is forecasting the death of email, which, so it is said, will be replaced by secure on-demand messaging platforms that provide privacy, security for messages, videos, files, voice — all bundled into an environment that offers something way beyond what email currently provides.
Q: Do you have an optimistic outlook regarding SMS messaging for the next few years?
R: It’s my belief that SMS will particularly benefit from the growth of messaging in general. SMS has specific attributes, like ubiquity, and a feeling of familiarity and simplicity which give it certain advantages over OTT services. Especially when the OTT services may be associated with providers whose brands, for whatever reason, fall out of fashion.