Happy Texting

SINGAPORE, Oct 22, 2006 (AFP) – Text messaging remains the most dominant mode of mobile data communication, as high costs and cumbersome procedures keep customers from fully embracing fancier applications, industry players say. As revenue from voice service narrows, mobile operators are hard pressed to find a key new application that will continue generating cash like the simple yet still popular short messaging system (SMS), also known as text messaging.

One solution is to enrich the content of text messages by adding voice greetings or templates on birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other special occasions, industry experts say.

For example, a boss sends a text message commending an employee for a job well done and informing him of a pay raise.

The congratulatory text could be enriched by including the sound of applause and colourful dollar signs.

The ultimate aim is to allow mobile users to do with great ease on their handsets what they normally do on personal computers: chatting online via instant message and sending e-mails, analysts and industry executives say.

“The challenge is that voice revenues are declining,” said Joe Woods, an executive vice president at fastmobile, a firm that has simplified sen