T-Mobile was hoping for a boost when it launched its 3G network late last year. All other major carriers had already developed their high-speed networks and had been benefiting off the additional revenue a 3G network can provide. T-Mobile got what they wanted- a significant boost in data-based revenue, but it was attributed to a spike in SMS usage rather than the use of its new 3G network.
In the fourth quarter alone, T-Mobile USA carried 57 billion text and multimedia messages, up from 49 billion in the third quarter and more than double the 24 billion it carried in fourth quarter of 2007. That led to a 31% increase in data revenue year-over-year and averaged out to $9.30 a month per subscriber, compared to $8.20 a month per subscriber a year earlier.
Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, who all already sport a 3G network, makes around $13.86, $14.50 and $16.30 per subscriber, respectively. With the lack of a high-speed data network, T-Mobile still profits considerably from data-usage which is almost entirely SMS and MMS until its 3G network can acquire a large enough footprint. To still be growing by 30% year-over-year shows the continued importance of SMS to carriers and marketers alike.
It’s always hard to speculate, but even with the advancement of smartphones, the mobile Web and mobile technology in general, SMS continues to thrive and gain momentum.