The advent of the mobile Internet has not slowed the growth of SMS – if anything, SMS is fuelling the mobile Internet.
That's according to Pieter Steicher, MD of BulkSMS.com, who adds: “Accessing the mobile Internet using hyperlinks sent via SMS is the norm for delivering rich mobile content, applications or services. Evolving cell phone design and new business models have led to the convergence of these technologies."
Handsets have progressed from recognising only phone numbers tp being able to identify an e-mail address or Internet link in a message. Today they automatically highlight phone numbers, e-mail addresses and Internet links in a SMS. There have also been improvements in the handling any type of website as phones have their own browsers.
“In the days before the mobile Internet, if a phone was not WAP-compatible then it could not display content. Now, all you need to do is click on the hyperlink within the SMS to access mobile content,” says Streicher.
The mobile entertainment industry has led the way in delivering music, videos and games using SMS hyperlinks. Businesses are catching on to using SMS as a cost effective and efficient means to deliver content to mobile phone users, download applications, or initiate viral marketing campaigns.
An example of a business model maximising on the integration of SMS and mobile Internet is Jamble, a South African social networking service.
Users access Jamble by sending a SMS to a shortcode. A WAP link is delivered to the phone and the user clicks on it to open a page on the mobile Internet. This WAP page allows users to subscribe to Jamble and begin creating a network of friends, send messages or use instant chat, share photographs and video clips, or download wallpapers and tones. Thereafter, Jamble provides alerts to new messages by sending a SMS with a link.
Streicher says: “The cell phone is all about the immediacy and convenience of mobile communications. The integration of SMS and the mobile Internet takes this a step further by providing consumers with a ubiquitous means of accessing mobile content, applications and services."