BARCELONA, Spain -- Not too long ago, you couldn't conveniently send a text message or a photo to a friend who used a different wireless carrier. Today, U.S. carriers have opened up their networks and the number of messages sent has soared.
The GSM Association and 15 wireless carriers, mostly in Europe, agreed to do the same thing for instant messaging on Monday. Together, they said the carriers will create an instant messaging service that will be rolled out to allow messages to be sent across many networks. In all, the network will reach more than 700 million people. As part of the initiative, the association said users will play only to send, not receive, messagies so that they can easily control spending and minimize spam.
Carriers are eager for a joint platform because of this kind of opportunity. They'll make money each time someone sends a mesaage.
An association study estimates that this could be a huge market. Today, there are 29 million mobile instant messenger users worldwide. In 2009, there will be 189.
As with text messaging and picture messaging, the U.S. took longer to open up their networks. It will be interesting to see how long it will take this time for the U.S.