I spoke yesterday at IIR Converged Messaging Conference in Munich.
Once again, it was quite challenging & interesting to play the devil's advocate in front of an operator-centric audience. My first message was to bring a bad news: SMS cash cow is and will continue to be threatened by declining prices. I had some feedback with people saying volumes continue to increase. Looking at SMS volumes in the UK or in Portugal, it would be difficult to disagree with this fact. However, increase in volumes will not compensate for the decline in average prices. The vast majority of the traffic is concentrated among heavy young users and once they have viewed SMS as a commodity, why would they pay for other services? At the end of the day, for the younder generation, it will probably be a data / Internet package with different services bundled such as social networking, IM or communication with presence / location to stay in touch with your community of friends / relatives.
There were lots of discussion about MMS, e-mail and mobile IM with the long hope to be able to offer a seamless and transparent solution for end-users that would meet all their communication needs whatever the bearer. But at the end of the day, this is about controlling the social address book and operators are not necessarily the only ones fighting for this and the best placed to deliver a compelling user-experience. A good sign is Nokia's acquisition of OZ announced yesterday. Some operators however are embracing the trend and offering very interesting solutions such as the Vodafone Connect To Friends' Facebook plug-in.