Today the 3rd of December, 2012 marks 20 years of SMS text messaging in the world.
From its humble beginnings some years back its evolution today has lead to about 7 trillion text messages being sent around the world last year alone.
But what is the future of SMS texting here in Ghana especially following the advent of the likes of WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and blackberry’s BBM among others.
SMS texting begun twenty years ago when the first SMS text massage was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom.
The text of the message was a ‘Merry Christmas’ from a man named Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone using an Orbitel 901 handset.
The following year the first commercial text service was introduced in Sweden then a person-to-person consumer text service started in Finland in 1994.
7 years later texting took off in a major swing when mobile phone companies begun receiving texts from their competitors.
Last year alone about 7 trillion texts were sent around the world.
Market watcher in the telecom industry, Foaud Challaby believes SMS testing has also evolved here in Ghana.
He said: “Definitely we are way ahead of our counterparts in sub Saharan Africa. In Ghana texting is so popular and the price is so cheap.”
But the short-message-service, or SMS, faces an uncertain future as newcomers such as Twitter, Facebook, blackberry’s BBM, Viber, iMessage and WhatsApp steal its thunder.
Research Company Ovum predicted this year that telecom companies would need to offset about 9 billion pounds in sales this year as a result of changing behavior.
In countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, China among others the SMS has lost its grip and analysts believe this will spread to other countries soon.
But Fouad Challaby opined that for now, SMS texting is still a winner here in Ghana saying, “SMS is still on top because all the other technologies need an internet connection. WiFi connectivity is not that popular in Ghana and the usage of smart phones is not yet that big even though the numbers are increasing so far now SMS is still the dominant technology when it comes to texting.”
The telecom industry in Ghana is one of the competitive sectors in the country with a number of price wars emanating from this industry every now and then.
Currently SMS charges are going for between 4 and 6 pesewas.
So what is the future of the SMS texting in Ghana?
Mr. Challaby said texting on its own will be dominant in the future but SMS text messaging will lose its current grip “5 to 10 years ago we were saying the GSM mobile phones will be working in Ghana but many were saying this will not happen. In 10 years time texting on its own will still be dominant whether you are using SMS or BB or WhatsApp but SMS text messaging will not be dominant.”
By: Vivian Kai Mensah/citifmonline.com/Ghana