Carriers have been on the gravy train for many years with SMS prices, charging what the market will bear and effectively having minimal overheads while doing so. Back in the heady days of the 90′s I can fondly recall Vodafone UK launching the first prepay service ‘Pay As You Go’ on the then infantile digital GSM network. SMS messages were free, and a huge novelty. There was no predictive input and the phones were the early digital generation so good luck on sending many messages. Of course back then hardly anyone had cellphones so good luck on finding someone to send to.

Shift things 15 years to the present and SMS has become ubiquitous. Everyone has cellphones which ensures that you can get in touch with just about anyone in the world at any time. The cellphones of today offer a rich experience with full internet connectivity. It has started to seem sensible to send messages and voice over this data connection. After all, this stops the carriers clipping the ticket.

Fundamentally does messaging over a data connection (Over The Top or OTT Messaging) do anything SMS does not? Generally it offers a degraded experience in many ways;

1. You can only communicate with those who have the ‘app’
2. OTT Message providers are not carriers, so carrier privacy rules need not apply
3. Lack of corporate control. Messages are not visible to your company, providing opportunity to leak trade secrets etc
4. No data = no messaging
5. The ‘app’ generally has free reign of your handset, so can snoop personal data and feed that back to the provider for further advertising purposes
6. Corporate addressbooks? Nope, none of those

The benefits are;

1. Free except for data charges
2. Presence awareness (which SMS has using delivery receipts anyway)

The main reason behind the shift to OTT messaging seems to be fundamentally circled around cost. If corporate decision making was based around cost, Oracle Corporation would have failed within their first year. The reality is that even if you equip all your staff with iPhones or Androids and get them all using one of these OTT services how do you enforce your corporate security practise, and how do you communicate with your customers? Before there are any nasty comments, iMessage is good and falls back to SMS, but what is the point using it if only 20% of smartphones alone are Apple devices.

Your customers will not install Whatsapp Messenger or similar apps just so you can send them promotions. Privacy is valuable and SMS has managed to stay fairly free of spam.

We do understand that for consumers trapped in under regulated countries that OTT messaging is a great stopgap until the carriers front up with reduced messaging costs. In New Zealand for example, consumer messaging has a minuscule interconnect charge levied (effectively zero) meaning that each month you have thousands of free messages. In these markets, there is absolutely no point in OTT messaging. Apart from the excitement of installing the app, realising the user experience is lacking, and then promptly reverting to SMS.

Bulletin Messenger integrated with Touch2TXT is a fully managed and controlled environment for the enterprise that works with any device supporting SMS. There is no need to worry about security, addressbooks nor rogue apps. If you are worried about budget you can control message throughput, block use to certain numbers and enforce sending to known recipients.

We’re working on something that will rock the market and you won’t need to use OTT messaging just because of the cost benefit. SMS is about to get a whole lot cheaper for business with Bulletin.net.

If your a business don’t bother with OTT messaging. Its a can of worms. Speak to us first.