Two mobile operators have announced free SMS promotions. Claro Brasil will offer its users 2 million SMS free of charge. The messages can be used through a special tab on the Facebook page of Claro Brasil and sent to any Claro number. And Orange Poland has introduced a promotion for prepaid Orange One subscribers who top up their balance. The operator will provide free unlimited SMS messages to all Polish networks for up to 100 days, the period of time depending on the size of the top-up.
We think it is a great idea for mobile operators to organize promotions around SMS because, in our view, it remains as vibrant and useful a service as it ever was, notwithstanding recent challenges from the OTT quarter. SMS remains wildly popular in Europe, as well as in North America and Asia – particularly among the latter’s rapidly growing youth market. Beyond its original purpose as a medium for personal messages, SMS is increasingly being used by businesses and other organizations as a form of communication with their customers and clients. Among the more common applications are credit card notifications, bank and brokerage account security procedures, university messages to students, appointment confirmations from doctors and other healthcare providers, and emergency service alerts.
We think SMS is an immediate, concise and direct form of communication that has a long lifespan ahead of it. Operators would be smart to do as much as they can to promote it, for not every promotion can hinge on data. In short, we believe there are currently not enough promotions built around SMS in the marketplace. By offering attractive texting deals, MNOs can help keep this very useful (and usable) technology vital, while enhancing customer satisfaction and “stickiness.” It is also a means by which to battle back against the ongoing encroachment from OTT providers.