An Easy Way for Telecoms to Fight Back Against Free Messaging
Needless to say, mobile companies are not happy at the flood of free messaging services piggybacking their networks. Telecom Italia SpA chief executive Franco Bernabe told MWC that free messaging services are undercutting the ability of phone companies to invest in their networks. Paid texting, or SMS, has been a cash cow for phone companies that uses minimal network capacity.
The new “players have based their innovation in the mobile domain, without a deep understanding of the complex technical environment of our industry. This is increasingly creating significant problems to the overall service offered to the end user and driving additional investments for mobile operators,” Bernabe said.
After years of study, the big telecommunications operators announced this week that they will try to fight back by introducing software this year embedded in new cell phones that will allow users to do the same sort of Internet-based messaging and voice calls that consumers want without paying separate fees.
Actually, if the telecoms had half a brain, they could easily compete with these so-called free texting services without spending a dime. It’s called lowering the cost of existing SMS services.
See, one of the reasons I personally like SMS is that, for the most part, it just works. Anywhere. On any phone. Even in areas without data networks or where data networks are congested. SMS just works.
Surely the operators can always do more to make sure SMS is reliable and that messages are delivered in a timely manner. That’s a minor incremental cost, plays to the telecoms strengths–running a network–and doesn’t require getting into areas telecoms are notoriously weak, i.e. in building add-on services that people will actually use.
I guarantee you, if SMS were super cheap, like under a $0.01 USD a message, with international SMS no more than $0.02 USD, and no more than $5 USD for unlimited texting, few would bother with these competitive texting offerings. The operators still get revenue, albeit not the kind they currently get off SMS, but it’s better than the zero revenue they get when the alternatives are used.