Research shows the global popularity of SMS 30 years after the first message

Infobip Regional Head for East Africa Marko Reis


NAIROBI: Research from global cloud communications platform Infobip shows the global popularity of Short Message Service (SMS) within customer communications, 30 years after a software programmer sent the first message on 3 December 1992 remains immensely popular despite the rise of new communication channels, with a 75% increase in use in 2022 compared to 2021.

Infobip Regional Head for East Africa Marko Reis

Infobip analyzed more than 153 billion communications interactions on its platform from the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. The study shows that SMS remains a top three channel in every region worldwide including Africa, Europe, Eurasia, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, India and Asia-Pacific.

With the highest open rates and return on investment, Infobip’s analysis shows that businesses and brands continue to use SMS for timely alerts and security solutions, including two-factor authentication. Highlighting the versatility of the channel, data from the analysis also shows that SMS made up 16% of total customer engagement and marketing interactions.

Ivan Ostojić, Chief Business Officer at Infobip, said: “As we reach the 30th anniversary of SMS, our data shows that it remains as popular as ever. SMS has evolved from a personal messaging platform to a key tool for business to consumer communications. Infobip has played a critical role in this evolution, enabling businesses and brands deliver billions of messages every year through our 700 direct telecom operator connections. As one of the most reliable and practical ways for brands to ensure their message reaches their customers, it is the go-to channel for time-sensitive alerts and security notifications. With its global reach and no reliance on internet connectivity, we expect SMS to continue to play a key role in future business-to-consumer communications.”

Infobip also finds that many sectors continue to rely on SMS. For instance:

  • Banking and finance saw 68% more SMS interactions, where firms use SMS for timely alerts
  • Retail and eCommerce recorded 22% more SMS interactions, where brands use it for retail marketing automation
  • Telecoms saw 48% more SMS interactions, where firms rely on SMS for reliable, secure messaging with an international customer base

After working with companies from different industries across the East African region for more than 10 years, Marko Reis, Regional Manager East Africa, reflected on the evolution of SMS in the region: “Mobile text messaging has become the core feature of the smartphone era in Africa. With more than 220 million subscribers in East Africa, it is impossible to underestimate the importance and impact of this technology on emerging markets. Due to inconsistent data connectivity throughout the continentSMS remains at the center of most communications activity across Africa and will continue to drive how people and businesses connect with each other.  Infobip’s built-in compliance engine ensures that messages that businesses send comply with local law and provides additional level of security and compliance for our local clients.”

Ivan Ostojić, Chief Business Officer at Infobip, continued: “The original SMS message sent 30 years ago by 22-year-old software programmer Neil Papworth helped forge a path to global connectivity. That connectivity has evolved and rapidly grown in recent years, and Infobip now handles hundreds of billions of messages every year, reaching 75% of mobile phones globally. We look forward to continuing to be at the forefront of innovation and transformation in omnichannel communications, delighting customers on any channel, anywhere in the world.”

Infobip is a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected experiences across all stages of the customer journey. Accessed through a single platform, Infobip’s omnichannel engagement, identity, user authentication and contact centre solutions help businesses and partners overcome the complexity of consumer communications to grow business and increase loyalty. With over a decade of industry experience, Infobip has expanded to 70+ offices globally. It offers natively built technology with the capacity to reach over seven billion mobile devices and ‘things’ in 6 continents connected directly to over 700 telecom networks. Infobip was established in 2006 and is led by its co-founders, CEO Silvio Kutić, Roberto Kutić and IzabelJelenić.

  • Infobip named a leader in the CCaaSLeaderboard, Juniper Research (Aug 2022)
  • Omdia Ranks Infobip as Leader in CPaaS Universe Report (May 2022)
  • Ranked the leading service provider in CPaaS by Juniper Research in its new Competitor LeaderboardCPaaS Vendors (October 2021)
  • Infobip named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) 2021 Vendor Assessment (doc #US46746221, May 2021)
  • Best A2P SMS provider for the fourth year running by mobile operators and enterprises in ROCCO’s annual Messaging Vendor Benchmarking Report
  • Best CPaaS Provider of the Year, Best RCS Provider of the Year, and Mover & Shaker in Telco Innovation at the 2021 Juniper Digital Awards

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