Home Your IT Mobility SMS bonanza: New Year’s Eve to be the most textual
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Get ready for the most textual New Year’s Eve that Australia and the entire planet will ever have seen, with more text and picture messages to be sent than ever, despite IM programs and social media.

Australia’s three major telcos are, as always, predicting record numbers of text messages will be sent on the night, and plenty of picture messages, too.

Those services create revenue for telcos, and while numbers are said to be at “record” levels, SMS and MMS messages will compete heavily with those that will be sent via IM programs instead such as Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, Skype, BBM and a host of others, let alone posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks, all of which use their own data channels instead of going through telco SMS and MMS message centres.

Optus announced it expected more than 72m (million) SMS messages would be sent on NYE, 4m more than the same time last year and compared to 64m messages sent on its network on Christmas Day.

It also expects more than 44m mobile calls to be made on the night, with a “peak load of mobile data” 54% higher than last year – no doubt being used for a lot of social networking and IM, voice and video messaging.

Even so, Optus quotes its research stating 34% of Aussies will use SMS to contact their friends and 29% to contact work colleagues by SMS on NYE too, so despite a plethora of alternate free choices using mobile data, the built-in and reliable SMS and MMS messaging systems live on quite nicely.

It also pointed to its research suggesting people are really attached to their numerous gadgets and digital devices, which roughly saw 50% claiming they wanted “a holiday free from all digital devices” and the other half saying any holiday without their gadgets would be boring.

A third were “stressed by the thought of leaving home without” them while another third used gadgets as “welcome distractions from their family”, although whether that’s just a case of burying your head in iSand wasn’t canvassed.

Fairfax Media’s Asher Moses quoted Telstra’s expectation of 61m messages and a big increase in picture messaging with 2.6m to be sent, alongside Vodafone’s estimate of between 70 and 90 million messages to be sent on the night and a big increase in picture messaging, too.  

There’s also Telstra’s NYE app with the City of Sydney that’s still to be experienced, synchronised with the fireworks and working as an amazing and novel messaging service of its own, as described at this ‘appy story here.

So, let us hope that the actions telcos have undertaken this year to provide upgraded telco infrastructure for the once-a-year mega-event that is NYE bear the good fruit of better than expected voice, data, SMS and MMS reception on the night, but if there is congestion, you’ll know why as you look and likely see a sea of smartphones in use around you.

May your New Year’s Eve be fun, safe, joyful, joyous, happy, ‘appy, shared with good friends and family, and may you, dear reader, have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2013 and beyond!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.