When did you last receive an important message from a friend in your SMS inbox? Most of the time isn’t your telecom service provider alerting the low credit balance to make calls or acknowledge your recharge. And in other instances, isn’t your bank telling you how much you have in your bank account when you withdraw and deposit money.
Yes, with your friends, family and even your office colleagues and bosses using WhatsApp and other free online messaging services, offline SMS inbox has become a ‘spam’ now.
“SMS inbox has become a redundant app in our phone. I never use it. When we can send multimedia contents at free-of-charge, who is going to use the offline SMS inbox for conversation,” Mohammed K, an Omani petroleum engineer, asked The Arabian Stories.
“I open SMS inbox only when bank alerts come. Other than that, it is being ignored,” he added.
According to Statistics, a research and information design company based in Hamburg, Germany, the Sultanate averaged 1.5 mobile phones per person and a penetration rate of 152.3 percent which is among the highest in the world.
Asha S, an Indian marketing official in Muscat, said that she also uses SMS inbox rarely only.
“As the Internet charges are affordable in Oman, everyone is online. So, WhatsApp and other online message sending applications are used. And in such online messaging apps, as we can docs, pics, videos and audio clips, it is very helpful in today’s life. Yes, it seems that SMS Inbox has become a redundant app and it has become a ‘spam’,” Asha said.
She added that it is now becoming more and more spam as it’s the shopping malls who are pushing their offers to SMS inbox.
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority’s (TRA) 2017 Annual Report, there were 78,000 more mobile subscriptions in Oman at the end of 2017 compared to the previous year.
With smartphones becoming ubiquitous, active mobile broadband subscriptions in Oman increased to 4.352mn in 2017, while mobile broadband penetration per inhabitant increased to 95.4 percent.
Meanwhile, Ashraf Mohammed, a Pakistani resident in Oman, said that de-cluttering the SMS inbox has become a challenge now due to spam and unwanted messages being pushed to your phones.
“For most of us, the SMS inbox typically has details of bank and credit cards transactions, flight bookings, salary credits, upcoming payments, online shopping, food delivery, personal messages, and a whole lot of spam. It’s tough to find an important message when you need one,” he said.
Alternative messaging services
According to one market research report, as of 2014, the global SMS messaging business was estimated to be worth over $100 billion, accounting for almost 50 percent of all the revenue generated by mobile messaging.
In 2010, 6.1 trillion SMS text messages were sent, which is an average of 193,000 SMS per second.
It has been reported that over 97% of smart phone owners use alternative messaging services at least once a day.
However, in the US these Internet-based services have not caught on as much, and SMS continues to be highly popular there.
One of the reasons is because the top three American carriers offer free SMS with almost all phone bundles since 2010, a contrast to Europe where SMS costs are high.