Lack of education restricts growth of mobile instant messaging

Posted by ProcessOne on February 04, 2009

As survey reveals growing user frustration with text messaging

London, UK – 4 February 2009 - Research released today by instant messaging experts, ProcessOne, has revealed that 60% of mobile users would send less text messages if they were better educated about how to use mobile instant messaging (IM) services. Despite many more of today's mobile handsets having IM capability only 35% of the users surveyed currently used mobile IM with text messaging remaining the dominant communications medium.

In the UK on average 6.5 billion text messages are sent per month*, however, the research did reveal that users are becoming increasingly frustrated with what they can do with text messaging. 58% of respondents cited character restrictions as their biggest frustration, followed by lack of real-time communication (22%) and lack of multimedia capability such as video (20%).

“There is a great opportunity for mobile operators to educate their users about the benefits of mobile IM, said Mickaël Rémond, CEO of ProcessOne. “Despite remaining very popular, text messaging hasn’t evolved with users’ communication habits. With today's mobile devices consumers are wanting a much more real-time and interactive experience, in order to better communicate with friends and colleagues.”

In the same way that texting and mobile voice calls only took off when users were able to communicate easily and cost-effectively with each other irrespective of network, the survey revealed that central to the future success of mobile IM will be interoperability. Just over two thirds of respondents stated that they would use mobile IM more if their network operator provided them with a single IM service that would connect with contacts on other networks.

Mobile IM pricing remains an unclear issue for many users, as nearly half of people questioned said that the ‘apparent’ high cost was the biggest barrier towards them using mobile IM services. However, interestingly the majority of users (40%) said that they would prefer to pay for mobile IM on a pay-per-message basis, as opposed to a low-cost monthly subscription (30%) or advertising funded model (30%).

“There definitely needs to be better clarity regards mobile IM pricing. It is apparent that people are willing to use services if they are priced correctly so there is plenty of room for mobile operators to develop innovative pricing options, whether it is a flat-rate fee or micro billing for add-on IM services, such as message histories or file downloads,” concluded Mickaël Rémond.

The research was conducted by independent market research company TNS and was a survey of 2,000 mobile phone users in Great Britain. For further details of the survey, please contact Spark Communications on +44 (0)20 7436 0420.

*Mobile Data Association (MDA), October 2008

About ProcessOne

Founded in 1999, ProcessOne is a specialised creator of high performance instant messaging solutions. The company actively develops the instant messaging server ejabberd and offers a high level of commercial support throughout the world. ProcessOne is one of the principal providers of instant messaging solutions and real time communications services.

ProcessOne’s solution has become the benchmark in the deployment of high performance instant messaging solutions. Solutions are for enterprises who want to deploy an internal instant messaging solution with or without interconnection with existing networks (MSN, Yahoo!, AOL). They are also for online communities that want to improve the services offered to its users. Known for its robustness under heavy loads, the solution is deployed with important clients around the world for building personalised services (Meetic, Portugal Telecom, SIPPhone, Nero) and today has over 35 million users.

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