Stats Watch: From acorns ...

Vodafone NZ says 37 million text messages are sent each month by its customers, topping a million a day. Telecom says eight million messages are sent by its customers each month, three times what it was doing at the same time last year.

Vodafone NZ says 37 million text messages are sent each month by its customers, topping a million a day. Telecom says eight million messages are sent by its customers each month, three times what it was doing at the same time last year. The difference in numbers, says Telecom, comes from the fact that text messagers comprise only half its customer base, which is older and more business-oriented.

According to my maths, at 20c a go that’s still $108 million a year between both providers. I know there are infrastructure and content delivery costs, but that’s good money in anyone’s language for providing a supposedly trivial application. I retract everything I said in last week’s editorial about text messaging not having any great use beyond filling in time (Simple desires, complex answers). Its greatest use lies in making telcos and text service firms loads of money, and proving that adage that a little of a lot adds up to quite a lot.

Indeed, SMS continues to be one of the few bright spots in the mobile telecomms industry, says Forrester Research. IT continues to grow here and in Europe, half the population there using SMS by November last year. They are still young – 44% between 16 and 24 – but they are using text messages for opinion polls and entering competitions as well as gossiping furiously. And, in Auckland, finding out where their bus is.

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