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Australia - Mobile Data - SMS - Overview and Statistics


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Previously, SMS revenues have contributed exponential returns to the mobile operators based on the cost of transmitted data with respect to overall mobile data revenue. With revenue from a simple SMS often at more than thousands of dollars a megabyte for just 160 characters, users often chose to send an SMS that is usually under $0.30 as opposed to the minimum cost of a call, often costing more than a $1.00.

But with many capped value plans using prepaid and/or postpaid, these include texts and voice in the cap and this freedom to communicate is also encouraging users to continue to use this type of messaging. However these free on-net or unlimited SMS availability have seen revenues from this market sector to the mobile operators peak in 2011. But SMSs can also provide instant user attention as opposed to an email that may be unread for a number of hours or days.

While the majority of SMS revenue is currently earned from messages sent between subscribers, many mobile phone data plans in 2012 now also including free access to social networking sites. Phone users are now able to update a single message to multiple friends at virtually no cost. BuddeComm estimates that SMS numbers/revenue will begin to fall over the next two years as users make use of the over-the-top services, iMessage and mobile email to keep connected and communicate, rather than the previous operator method of SMS.

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.

Key developments:

Short Messaging Services (SMS), PSMS, MMS, regulations, iMessage, OTT services, revenue

Companied covered in this report include:

Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, VHA, 3.


1. Synopsis
2. Background information
3. SMS market overview
3.1 Operators
3.2 Forecasts and analysis
3.3 Is mobile voice over internet protocol (MoIP) a threat to SMS and voice revenues?
3.4 SMS regulation
3.5 Reporting spam SMS
3.6 SMS technology not safe
4. Overview of SMS services in Australia
4.1 Background information
4.2 SMS lotteries
4.3 SMS betting
4.4 SMS service for people with disabilities
4.5 SMS advertising
4.6 Business SMS
5. Usage statistics
5.1 Analysis of market trends in mid-2012
5.2 Statistical trends into 2012
6. Premium SMS (PSMS) (separate report)
7. Related reports
List of Tables
Table 1 – Cost of sending a standard SMS by mobile network operator – 2012
Table 2 – MMS and SMS numbers SMS sent – 2008 - 2011
Table 3 – Estimated numbers of SMS sent – 2003 - 2012
Table 4 – Number of Telstra sent SMSs – 2005 - 2013
Table 5 – The decline in SMS data revenues – 2010 - 2012

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