The next major mobile opportunity is already bubbling below the surface and will be a user shift from SMS to mobile IM. RCR Wireless wrote a recent piece on the changing landscape and the challenges it will create for carriers that will see their once growing SMS revenues decline as users begin to adopt mobile IM instead. According to the Radicati Group, the installed base of online IM fans is already 1.2 billion and is pegged to grow to 1.9 billion over the next four years. However, mobile IM also offers an expanded horizon of revenue opportunities for carriers to put together attractive service offerings that incorporate social networking, communities, blogging, and interactivity with other mobile media. Currently, mobile IM is used by only 8% of mobile consumers worldwide, according to TNS Global Telecoms. Undoubtedly, mobile IM (MIM) will leave SMS in the dust and for good reason: its free, its faster and the availability and emergence of powerful, cross-platform tools such as those from mobile communications innovator Geodesic* are porting popular desktop-based messaging and communication functionality to the mobile phone. (Currently about 15% of iPhone users use Geodesic's Mundu IM universal iPhone edition tool.)
While the mobile landscape change is well underway, it bodes well for the ecosystem: mobile communications service providers that are pioneering enhanced tools for users; carriers once they figure out new business models that will be successful and appeal to users; and users who will be the ultimate winners as they will have bigger, better, faster ways to create, consume and communicate with their own network of friends and family.
(Full disclosure: Geodesic is a client of Ignite PR.)