• Total VAS sales account for 49.4% of operators’ sales
• SMS and MMS continue to drive VAS revenue accounting for 56.8% of service sales, over $ARG2.9 billion revenue ($USD 570 million) in Q2 2013
• Mobile Internet accounted for $ARG1.7 billion ($USD 342 million) revenue in Q2 2013, achieving 50.97% growth compared 2012
• 86% of smartphone owners use one or more instant messaging applications, while 93% if of those also still use SMS
• WhatsApp (77%), followed by Facebook (56%) and Twitter (28%) are the most used instant messaging applications
Acision, the global leader in mobile messaging, today launched the results of its research report, MAVAM Argentina 2013 (Acision Monitor of Mobile Value Added Services (VAS) third edition), which analyses the evolution and usage trends of VAS in Argentina. This is the final instalment of three reports analysing the VAS trends across Latin America, with particular focus on Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
According to the report, mobile revenues in the second quarter of 2013 reached $ARG12.4 billion (USD 2.3 billion), an increase of 23.1% compared to the previous year. Value Added Services represented 49.4% ($ARG5.2 billion) of the operators’ income during the second quarter, recording an increase of 30.8% against the same period in 2012.
MAVAM Argentina reveals that SMS and MMS are still a highly lucrative source of revenue for operators. In the second quarter of 2013, SMS/MMS services generated 57% of VAS revenues, accounting for more than $ARG2.9 billion ($USD 570 million) in sales, and representing the best-selling VAS in the market. By the same token, Mobile Internet is the fastest growing mobile service by revenue, achieving sales of $ARG1.7 billion (USD 342 millions) in Q2 2013 - an increase of 50.97% compared to the second quarter of 2012.
The research showed that 86% of smartphone owners use one or more instant messaging (IM) service with WhatsApp being the most widely used (77%), followed by Facebook Messenger (56%) and Twitter (28%). However, despite this access to IM/over-the top services, 93% of those smartphone owners also use SMS as part of their messaging solutions, proving that SMS continues to be an essential method of communication and that IM/chat services can coexist and be complementary to one another as each service has differing features and benefits.
According to Fatima Raimondi, SVP and General Manager for Latin America, the strength of SMS in Argentina is clear,“SMS in Argentina is still seen as a core messaging service by consumers. For instance, when questioned, 60% of users claim that in the case of a hypothetical withdrawal of an SMS service, they would have major problems in communicating and 22% would feel lost without it. In fact, 38% of those surveyed considered that they would need it even with the availability of other communication alternatives available.”
Among the reasons smartphone users chose to utilise instant messaging include its perceived cost advantage over SMS, with 70% citing this as their primary motivation, closely followed by 56% who liked the rich features for sharing files, images and videos. However, the research highlighted that the messaging habits for smartphone users often depends on the circumstances and the choice of which messaging platform to use can depend on the social context. For example, both SMS and IM are seen as good tools for informal communications with friends and family. However, for work related matters and more formal settings, the speed and reliability of SMS are often preferred with 41% of those surveyed stating that SMS is the preferred option for sending important messages. This is a clear indication that there is no unique platform that meets all users’ needs.
“We have seen remarkable growth in the adoption of smartphones in Latin America, with between 15% and 20% of mobile users now owning a smartphone. With this, messaging habits are changing as requirements change, but people are also sending more messages than ever. Chat services, for example, are being incorporated into different platforms like social networks with more rich features, but SMS and MMS continue to grow and are seen as the universal messaging platform across all segments. This is the trend we see in Argentina and we believe that users will continue using multiple messaging platforms to fulfil their communication needs which may be an opportunity for mobile operators,” explains Ms Raimondi.
Mobile operators around the world are looking to the GSMA’s Rich Communications Services (RCS) set of standards to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive environment. Services such as RCS, and branded “joyn™”, are now operating in numerous countries and is one of the main responses by carriers to offer a quality service that integrates the functionalities offered by IM applications with the reach and reliability of SMS. When asked about the possible launch of a service like “joyn™” in Argentina, 60% of respondents showed a positive interest, although offering the service for free, or as part of their pricing plan seemed to be necessary to drive adoption.