Growth in the Premium SMS market has been affected by the high cost of service, essentially limited the market to lucrative areas such as gaming, adult chat services and horoscopes. Premium rate SMS regulations (the Mobile Premium Service code) were introduced to address problems related to bill-shock, whereby customers were unexpectedly issued with bills inflated by these high charges.
Only those with high margins to spare can participate in this market, and non-subscription information-based premium rate SMS services are at risk of being buried in complicated regulatory requirements and additional carrier requirements, making business cases for all premium rate SMS services less viable. Many of these content providers are overseas-based operations.
As a result, the premium rate SMS market is increasingly moving into specific high-return niche market applications, as well as competitions and voting where price points, volume and profile ensure that these services remain viable. The apps market continues to increase rapidly, stimulated by the high proportion of free apps. This in turn is encouraging customer take-up of higher bundles: the proportion of customers with bundles up to 50MB per month fell from 32% in 2009 to 5% in 2013, while those with bundles with between 1GB and 3GB increased from 11% to 44% and those with bundles between 3GB and 5GB increased from 1% to 9%.
Mobile apps, mobile downloads, PSMS, regulations, revenues; report includes Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index 2013 data, market developments to mid-2014.