The campaign for the hearts and minds of Ireland’s text messagers stepped up a gear today with the announcement by O2 Ireland of a new low-rate text message of 8 cent per text to all networks at any time throughout the month of February.
The campaign marks the start of a variety of text initiatives from the company, and from March onwards O2 Ireland says customers will be able to buy “bundles of text” that will allow them to send 100 texts for a set price every month.
Head of commercial marketing at O2 Ireland Paul Farrell claims: “Our customers have clearly shown us how much they rely on text messages as a means of communicating. Text messaging is not only popular among our consumer customers. Increasingly our business customers are relying on text and are finding it essential in everyday business life.”
The popularity of text messaging, most famously amongst the 18 to 24 age bracket, clearly has the telecoms networks taking a closer look at its potential market as O2 trains its eye that bit more closely on the business sector.
Spokeswoman for the company Johanna Cassells told siliconrepublic.com: “Over the past six months or so we’ve seen an upsurge in the use of text messaging, so that shows that the customer base is much broader than the 18-24 age-group it’s traditionally associated with. In the three months between July and September there were 221 million text messages sent across our network.”
But what are businesses primarily using the service for? At the moment it appears there is nothing particularly different or co-ordinated about business usage compared to general consumer usage.
“For business users it’s primarily for things such as meeting updates, to give an update on stock delivery or price changes and other things like that,” says Cassells.
She adds: “Text messaging is used mainly by small to medium-sized enterprises. The type of companies that would have people out on the road.”
However, if networks are to effectively milk this part of the market they’re going to have to get businesses to engage in a more defined use of SMS and to this end they are looking at a number of options.
Cassells points out that companies can already send group text messages from the company’s portal O2.ie site to any number of contacts and the company is considering various other ways of making text messaging more useful to businesses: “We’re considering enabling people to send text messages via email where not only will it be more efficient to send but you won’t be restricted in the number of characters you can use. More information about this development will be made available over the next few weeks.”
By Suzanne Byrne