What’s Bigger than Facebook?


So the huge number here is SMS obviously. Yes, 4.2 billion people are already active users of SMS text messaging. Don’t listen to any of those fools who suggest SMS is going away. There is nothing in the digital world coming close to what SMS is today. Look at its size. SMS text messaging has more than twice the number of users as all users of the internet. Nearly four times more people send SMS text messages than have a PC of any kind. While email can also be accessed at internet cafes and at work – with 1.4 billion unique users of email worldwide, including residential consumer users and business/work email accounts – SMS is 3 times bigger than email already.

Do you think Facebook is ‘important’ and ‘popular’ – well, SMS is only … seven … yes seven (!) times bigger than Facebook. You like Twitter? SMS is 21 times bigger than Twitter! And is SMS ‘slowing down’? No. The world’s most widely used data application grew users by 17% in just one year! Did the traffic grow? You betcha! Try 24% in just one year! And what of SMS revenues you ask? Well, SMS hit revenue levels of 120 Billion dollars in 2010, which is a growth rate of 6% from the level in 2009. Do not for one moment think SMS will go away any time soon.

SMS is the only technology that reaches the pockets of 61% of the planet. SMS user base is literally bigger than the total number of radio receivers in use globally, three times as big as the number of television sets and almost four times as big as the total installed base of all personal computers in use (and not all of those are connected to the internet, mind you).

SMS delivers news and alerts – 1.2 billion people pay to receive news on their mobile phones – most do so via SMS text messaging. Note this number is more than all who pay for cable TV (ie who have access to 24 hour cable news services). The number who pay to receive news on their phones is nearly 3 times bigger than the total paid circulation of all daily newspapers worldwide. Yes.

And SMS does money! SMS has cannibalized coins and Estonia and Sweden are among the countries that are now decommissioning coins from some industries like parking, public transportation etc. In Kenya more than half of all banking accounts are SMS banking accounts, and 25% of the total Kenyan economy transits SMS based mobile payments. SMS does just about anything you could imagine from delivering answers to questions on AQA and ChaCha to reminding about medical appointments to teaching basic literacy skills.