Friday, December 14, 2012

Philippines Gmessage a Test of Carrier Instant Messaging Success

Globe Telecom, the second biggest carrier in the Philippines, is about to find out how important network effects are for instant messaging users. 

Globe Telecom is launching its own instant messaging service, with one key attribute: messages can be sent to people who do not use Gmessage. The new service has tough competition, including Facebook and Whatsapp, for example.

At least in part, Globe Telecom is responding to declining text messaging usage, and growing use of instant messaging platforms as an alternative. 

Instant messaging is quite popular in Asia. But the markets remain fragmented.  In China, the top instant messaging applications are and Chatroulette. reaches 3.7 percent of the users with 6.5 percent of all page views and Chatroulette reaches 1.7 percent of the users with 1.3 percent of all page views.

Line, which has grown to 60 million users, mostly in Asia including at least 29 million in Japan.

Also popular is Kakao Talk with 60 million users, more than half in South Korea where it originates. 

Other messenging apps include Nimbuzz, which has amassed 100 million users including 31 million in Asia, and WeChat by China-based Tencent, which is nearing 200 million users.

Globe’s Gmessage is potentially significant for a few reasons. Number one is that mobile messaging services are popular in Asia, and that is hurting text messaging revenue. 

In South Korea, KakaoTalk has more than 60 million users, and LINE is enjoying similar popularity in Japan. In China, Weixin – or WeChat, in English – has more than 200 million users. 

Alongside WhatsApp, all three are intent on expanding in the Southeast Asian markets. So Globe Telecom is fighting back with an offer of its own. 

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