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Mobile messaging grows globally

New uses--such as messaging for social change and marketing--helped spur total message growth worldwide by nearly 10 percent in the third quarter, according to VeriSign.

Worldwide mobile messaging grew nearly 10 percent in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of the year, fueled by new trends in the messaging market, according to VeriSign, which provides Internet infrastructure services and delivers messages on behalf of carriers and content providers.

The company reported Tuesday that VeriSign enabled more than 58.3 billion messages per day during the third quarter of 2008. This was up from about 52 billion messages sent during the second quarter of 2008.

On average, this means that VeriSign facilitated the delivery of about 634 million messages per day during the third quarter, compared to 572 million messages a day in the second quarter. In the third quarter of 2007, the company helped move 280 million messages per day across its systems. VeriSign said it expects to enable nearly 200 billion messages during 2008.

The company attributed a lot of this growth in mobile messaging to new uses of the technology, which include messaging for social and political change and marketing. One of the most notable examples of this is how U.S. President-elect Barack Obama used SMS text messaging to send messages to supporters during the campaign, even using the medium to distribute some of the campaign's biggest news like the selection of his vice presidential runningmate Joe Biden.

Other groups used text messaging to solicit charitable donations. And several businesses and financial institutions also used mobile. In fact, messaging volume from businesses skyrocketed about 115 percent in the third quarter of 2008 compared to the same period a year ago, the company said. Messaging on VeriSign's Mobile Banking platform also saw a 35 percent bump in volume from the second quarter of 2008 to the third quarter.

VeriSigns figures, which include text messaging as well as other forms of messaging like multimedia messaging, is in line with growth other groups have observed. In September, the U.S. wireless association CTIA noted the explosion in text messaging among U.S. consumers. The group reported that for the month of June, American cell phone subscribers sent about 75 billion SMS text messages, averaging about 2.5 billion messages per day. This represents an increase of 160 percent over the 28.8 billion messages reported in June 2007.