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Study: Consumers Look for Mobile Operators to Deliver Innovative Messaging Features and Pricing; Majority of Smartphone Users Continue to Prefer Mobile Operator-Provided Messaging Services

CHICAGO and BERLIN, Oct. 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Infinite Convergence Solutions, a next-generation wireless messaging and mobility solutions provider for carriers and enterprises, today releases the results of its 2013 Social Messaging Applications Insights Study. The study surveyed more than 1,000 smartphone owners in the U.S. and 1,000 smartphone owners in the U.K. on their preferences and habits while communicating via mobile operator-provided messaging and social messaging applications, also known as over-the-top (OTT) applications.

The study found that 45 percent of respondents in the U.S. prefer mobile operator-provided messaging services for communication over social messaging applications. This finding was consistent in the U.K. with 42 percent of respondents preferring mobile operator-provided messaging services. Additional preferences include:

  • 7 percent of U.S. respondents prefer social messaging applications vs. 13 percent in the U.K.
  • 22 percent of U.S. respondents say their preference depends on the situation vs. 27 percent in the U.K.
  • 26 percent of U.S. respondents have no preference vs. 18 percent in the U.K.

Although social messaging applications are threatening mobile operators' revenues and customer base, mobile operators still have an opportunity to provide a more compelling messaging experience to subscribers.

"Smartphone owners believe in the power of mobile messaging," said Anurag Lal, CEO of Infinite Convergence. "In order to deliver a compelling messaging experience that will resonate with smartphone owners into the future and increase average revenue per user, mobile operators must innovate on features, availability and price while developing an ecosystem around a competitive, enhanced messaging solution. The upcoming GSMA standard referred to as "RCS" – Rich Communication Suite –provides a great enabling platform for such innovation."

Of respondents who prefer to communicate via social messaging applications, the majority in both the U.S. (43 percent) and U.K. (39 percent) say they prefer them because they have more enhanced features. Smartphone owners are also cognizant of the cost (or lack thereof) associated with social messaging applications. Thirty-four percent of respondents in the U.S. and U.K. listed "because they [social messaging applications] are free or cheaper" as a reason why they prefer social messaging applications.

"The results of this study show that social messaging applications are becoming increasingly popular among smartphone owners because they are feature-rich and often less expensive than mobile operator-provided messaging services, especially when communicating internationally," said Lal. "But social messaging applications lack the convenience of communicating with anyone, on any device or application, a messaging requirement that is extremely important to smartphone owners."

The most popular social messaging applications on phones in the U.S. and U.K. include:

U.S.

1. Facebook chat or message threads (60 percent of respondents use it on their phone)

2. iMessage (42 percent)

3. Skype (25 percent)

U.K.

1. Facebook chat or message threads (56 percent of respondents use it on their phone)

2. WhatsApp (36 percent)

3. Skype (27 percent)

Only 8 percent of smartphone owners in the U.S. say they use WhatsApp on their phones compared to 36 percent in the U.K. iMessage also has conflicting usage in the U.S. and U.K. Only 25 percent of respondents in the U.K. use iMessage on their phones.

Social messaging applications' main weakness

The study also examined respondents' sentiments around social messaging applications and found 35 percent of smartphone owners in the U.S. and 43 percent in the U.K. say the inability to chat with people who aren't using the same social messaging application is their least favorite aspect. Additionally, respondents say they dislike that social messaging applications can't work together, indicating too many applications on their phones is extremely frustrating.

When asked what feature is most important for mobile messaging, 45 percent of U.S. respondents and 40 percent of U.K. respondents rank the ability to communicate with all contacts regardless of device or carrier service highest.

"Smartphone owners dislike the walled gardens social messaging applications put up, preventing them from communicating with anyone across devices or applications," added Lal. "This presents an opportunity for mobile operators to capitalize on the ubiquity of their SMS, MMS and RCS platforms. Smartphone owners want messaging to be convenient – not fragmented."

Security and reliability of messages

The majority of respondents in the U.S. (53 percent) and U.K. (58 percent) believe mobile operator-provided messaging is more reliable when it comes to confidentiality and security of mobile messages compared to social messaging applications.

Social messaging applications can be susceptible to security breaches and delayed message delivery times. Sixty-two percent of U.S. respondents and 51 percent in the U.K. say they have sent or received a mobile message via a social messaging application that was delayed in delivery by either minutes, hours or days.

Infinite Convergence will present the study findings at Informa's Rich Communication Conference in Berlin October 29-30. For more information about the 2013 Social Messaging Applications Insight Study, visit infinite-convergence.com/sma-study.

The Infinite Convergence 2013 Social Messaging Applications Insights Study Methodology

Infinite Convergence Solutions completed this study to uncover trends and provide mobile operators with an improved understanding of mobile messaging habits and preferences comparing mobile operator-provided messaging services and social messaging applications. The study surveyed 1,017 smartphone owners in the U.S. and 1,025 smartphone owners in the U.K. on their mobile messaging habits and behaviors. The study asked questions across a variety of topics, including mobile messaging habits and preferences on mobile operator-provided messaging services and social messaging applications. Findings were evaluated based on demographic qualifiers, including gender, age and smartphone ownership. Response percentages were further evaluated on a quantitative scale.

Last year, Infinite Convergence launched its Rich Communications Suite (RCS), a solution for mobile operators to deploy compelling messaging services while providing a platform to build an enabling application ecosystem. For more information about RCS, visit the website.

About Infinite Convergence

Formed in 2010 as a result of an alliance between Infinite Computer Solutions (BSE: 533154|NSE: INFINITE) and Motorola (now Nokia Solutions and Networks), Infinite Convergence provides innovative messaging and mobility solutions and next-generation wireless communication technologies to mobile operators and enterprises. Currently supporting more than 130 million subscribers globally, Infinite Convergence offers a complete range of scalable Enterprise Messaging Services, Rich Communication Suite, Converged Messaging, Public Safety Messaging, SMS, MMS, and Gateway solutions for businesses and wireless operators globally. Headquartered outside Chicago, Infinite Convergence employs 200 people in the USA, Germany, India and Singapore. Infinite Convergence Solution is a wholly owned subsidiary of Infinite Computer Solutions. For more information, visit www.infinite-convergence.com.

CONTACT: Public Relations Contact Christine Curtin Walker Sands Communications 312-648-6019 Infinite Convergence Contact Anjana Arora Vice President Marketing Infinite Convergence Solutions 301-355-7773Source: Infinite Convergence