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By Dr Pieter Streicher, MD of BulkSMS.com. Uploaded on: 10 February 2014.
As with almost every other sector under the ‘technology’ banner, the mobile industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and is constantly iterating to meet the demands of an increasingly large and sophisticated market. At BulkSMS.com, we keep a close eye on the changes that affect the end user, as well as the trends that we believe are shaping the industry. Looking ahead to 2014, here are some of the topics that will undoubtedly impact the mobile services that have become such a ubiquitous part of our daily lives.
During December, mobile operators MTN and CELL C will be introducing double opt
in systems, following the example of rival (and market leader) Vodacom. This
system is designed to reduce the possibility of consumers inadvertently signing
up for mobile services. This system also eliminates the possibility of
consumers being fraudulently billed by third parties.
Once both MTN and CELL C implement the double opt in system we foresee that
complaints relating to mobile subscription services will be significantly
reduced. Take Vodacom, for example. The Wireless Application Service Providers’
Association (WASPA) receives around 180 000 unsubscribe requests per month –
and in October, a mere 16 000 were related to Vodacom. Since installing the
double opt in system in December 2011 Vodacom related complaints have been
consistently low in comparison to the other networks – proving that the system
is highly effective in reducing the problem.
It must be noted, however, that while the system will reduce consumer
complaints, it will not eliminate all of them. The reason being that some
subscription services are disguised as lottery type competitions. These
services inevitably dupe some users who are lured by the prospect of winning a
prize of some sort.
Following in the footsteps of the major banks, more businesses are beginning to
use SMS messaging as a means of authentication – the most obvious use being
one-time passwords (OTPs). These have proven to be an effective way of ensuring
Internet banking is secure by making it difficult for hackers who would have to
compromise two separate channels in order to breach the system. Now, any
business with an online service can make use of this mechanism, requiring only
the consumer’s mobile number as a means of identification. This strategy can
eliminate the costs and risks associated with using other means of
authentication, while simultaneously speeding up the authentication process –
something which is undoubtedly an attractive prospect for any business.
Broadly speaking, there is a definite shift taking place in the uses of SMS –
increasingly, SMS is moving to ‘high value’ messaging – of which authentication
is an example, with ‘low value’ messaging – everyday, social messages, for
example – becoming the domain of platforms such as WhatsApp, SnapChat and
Blackberry Messenger. Essentially, SMS is moving toward a more functional,
Finally, we are beginning to see SMS being increasingly combined with the
mobile web in order to provide a more efficient and interactive service. For
example, SMS messages relating to an invitation can contain a link to a website
on which the recipient can simply click on in order to RSVP. Therefore, instead
of having to reply to an SMS, users can simply follow the link and perform the
necessary action directly online. This type of service is the inevitable result
of a general move toward the mobile web and consumers’ increasing appetite for
mobile-friendly data services.
As both companies and consumers become more and more dependent on mobile
messaging, one can be certain that building on best practice mobile technology
and business innovation will ensure that SMS messaging remains a communication
channel of choice. As we move into 2014, we will be keeping a close watch on
anything that spells change in the South African mobile messaging market.
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