Russian regional mobile operator BWK, a subsidiary of Rostelecom, has introduced the option of sending MMS messages outside the country – to China, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the U.S., Georgia, the U.K., Thailand, Belarus and Tajikistan. For foreign MMS there will be an additional charge per message, on top of the usual local charge that would apply.
While data usage is certainly the wave of the future, and while voice revenue may be facing an impending decline, operators would be making a mistake to write off SMS and MMS as well. We don’t think of these as atrophying services; they are vital, have great functionality, and will continue to be used by subscribers for years to come. Therefore, in our view they should not be given away free in connection with LTE data packages, as we’ve noticed in our research some operators are starting to do. We believe this to be a misguided approach. Mobile service providers would be smart not to over-focus so much on data to the point of neglecting the potential revenue to be generated from text messaging. Instead, they should seek to emulate BWK in finding new ways to monetize this mature, yet still-vibrant service.