Yes, but SMS Won’t Die..Yet

How many of you are living in the big cities? How many of you owned Blackberry, iPhone, or other smartphones? Do you enjoy BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), YM (Yahoo Messenger) Mobile, Whatsapp, or any other IM (Instant Messaging) applications? And tell me, do you remember one of the greatest invention called SMS (Short Messaging Service)? FYI, SMS was actually developed in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert.

To those who use IM feature on smartphones, do you guys still text?

An interesting discussion that I had with my girlfriend is that do you think Mobile IM will eventually kill SMS? It is a very interesting topic since the amount of BlackBerry and smartphone – that enable IM – users keeps increasing day by day. Indeed, that the usage of SMS is declining, simply because it saves a lot of money. However, how big it will impact Indonesians way of communicating through mobile phones?

Indonesia Cellular Communication Association Chairman, Sarwoto Atmosutarno, said that at least by the end of 2010, a half of Indonesia’s population will already own their own mobile phones. Predicted that BlackBerry users in Indonesia will reach 2 million users by the end of 2010, which means almost 0.01% of mobile phones users in Indonesia will – most probably – choose BBM over SMS, let alone the other smartphone users. The number will only go up.

Before we go a little bit further, let’s do a comparation:


Mobile IM

Cost High Price Requires a data plan from the operator
Access to Users Exist on every handset and works between all handsets and networks You will need to download the app first, install, sign in, and so on.
Coverage Works everywhere Need to be connected to an IP network (either the operator’s data network or through WiFi)
Micro Payments Commonly used for doing small transactions


3rd Party Services Retrieve banking information, Movie schedules, etc Some contact centers offer customer service via desktop IM
Filtering/Spamming Senders pay for the messages they send. They will think twice before spamming/blasting The cost is zero. That means senders can just spam to their contacts, although you still have the capacity to filter them.
Others Uses Commonly used for votings/polls (political campaign, TV reality shows, etc)


Although smartphones is quite a frenzy in Indonesia right now, our infrastructure is not as stable and advanced as you think yet. Indonesia Ministry of Communication and Information is targetting Indonesia to be ‘Information Citizen’ by the year 2015, based on Indonesia’s number increase on Software Houses, Software Developers, e-Education, Piracy Rate, and e-Goverment.

Thus, in my honest opinion, we will not yet be ready on 2015. Thus, when will Mobile IM replace SMS? It might be, in the next 10 to 15 years and that is if things go as planned.

For me? When mobile, I use Mobile IM to work & communicate, but I use SMS for ‘telling stories’

What about you? Do you see SMS and Mobile IM as the exact same thing?

Thanks for reading.


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