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Optical/IP

SMS Is Plenty Instant

3:50 PM -- I'll be honest. I don't understand why the average mobile phone user needs interoperable wireless instant messaging yet.

Oh, I know why at least some carriers want it. If they can repeat even some of the stunning success of short messaging services (SMS), it will be worth it to the fat cats of the cellular industry. (See 3GSM Talks Mobile IM.)

But for the user, interoperable text messaging is already here, in the form of... well, SMS. This already allows me to send messages to people around the U.S. and in Europe. I haven't seen anything yet that persuades me that I should switch to IM.

Some people argue that with IM you can always see who is online, at lunch, or away. To my mind, this kind of thinking comes straight from the desktop. The people I want to contact usually carry their cellphones with them, so if I need to get hold of them SMS is usually the quickest way. In contrast, I can see some phone numbers that I can message via AOL Instant Messanger on my desktop. I almost never get a response when I do.

Anyhow, I doubt that here in the U.S. we will be seeing interoperable IMs any time soon. As I noted in my story today, Cingular Wireless isn't part of the gang of 15 GSM operators looking to make interoperable IM a global phenomenon. (See 3GSM Talks Mobile IM.)

History certainly shows that U.S. carriers aren't keen on cooperation where they can possibly avoid it. Case in point: While European and Asian operators made big money from internetwork SMS in the late 90s, U.S. carriers doggedly refused to consider interoperability. It wasn't until 2002 that the text messaging barriers started to fall stateside. (See Real SMS Comes to the US.)

Questioning the viability or motives of any interoperability agreement makes for too easy a target. And as useful as IM may be, it's still tremendously deskbound. The interoperable messaging ship has sailed, and the masthead reads "SMS." — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

kantarjiev 12/5/2012 | 4:05:12 AM
re: SMS Is Plenty Instant "The people I want to contact usually carry their cellphones with them, so if I need to get hold of them SMS is usually the quickest way."

The target market for IM-on-phones is teenagers. The secondary market is for people who sit in front of 42 IM chat sessions at once when they should be working.

The IM-vs-SMS debate, I still believe (I wrote about this five years back), stems from the difference between an always-on Internet as found in the US and a seldom-on Internet as found in the rest of the world. IM is connected; SMS is disconnected. I happen to prefer SMS, but I (and you, and most of Europe!) seem to be in the minority.

Besides. I bet IM sessions use up a lot more data and raise the ARPU.
meshsecurity 12/5/2012 | 4:04:59 AM
re: SMS Is Plenty Instant What ever happened to them? Saw few postings connecting them with Google and then the new CEO announcement, but nothing since.


meshsecurity
joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:04:57 AM
re: SMS Is Plenty Instant I believe they feel like news got out too fast and they're going back into some sort of stealth mode.

DJ
joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:04:57 AM
re: SMS Is Plenty Instant I believe they feel like news got out too fast and they're going back into some sort of stealth mode.

DJ
meshsecurity 12/5/2012 | 4:04:56 AM
re: SMS Is Plenty Instant Well, they made a CEO change, correct? But no mentio n of such. Just wondering if the Google hype(then cooling) plus the CEO change announcement was an ominous sign. Tied in with SF MUNI deployment but not a peep out of them in months.

???????


Mesh Security

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