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A quite staggering 3.1 billion multimedia messages will be sent across mobile networks in 2003, according to a new report from research firm ARC Group. However, the vast majority of these will be sent and received in the Asia/Pacific region, where camera phones and, more recently, video-enabled handsets have been available for some time, primarily in Japan and Korea. According to ARC's projections, more than 85 percent of the 3.1 billion messages will be confined to Asia/Pac, leaving about 400 million in the rest of the world. If 400 million sounds as if it's way too many, given that mobile phones with embedded cameras are still quite new in Europe and hardly available elsewhere, remember that 24 billion text messages were sent (globally) in May 2002, with the total annual figure for SMS set to be about 360 billion, according to the GSM Association. Of that 3.1 billion, the researchers at ARC believe more than 80 percent will be person-to-person (P2P) messages, with the remainder being machine-to-person in the form of pushed or requested messages. — Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung
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