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Interoperable Short Message Service Sees Encouraging Response

Interoperable short message service, which has been launched for about a month, has demonstrated huge potential with its positive response, according to mobile operators.

"Since the launch of inter-operator short messaging service, the response was very encouraging and the usage of short messaging service (SMS) continues to increase. The SMS traffic from our users has been soared by 100 percent two weeks after the launch," according to Stephen Ngan, deputy managing director and sales & marketing director of Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Ltd.

He said the increase, mainly contributed by outgoing interoperable SMS, was particularly dramatic during the Christmas season, and the company recorded over 300 percent increase in total SMS usage during that period.

SMS service included inter SMS or interoperable SMS, which was launched on December 3, 2001, and intra SMS, which was launched a few years ago.

From December 3 last year, all six GSM (global system for mobile) networks in Hong Kong started offering interoperable SMS, enabling local subscribers to send messages to users of all six operators.

Interconnected text-messaging between CSL, SmarTone, Hutchison Telecom, Sunday, Peoples Telephone and New World Mobility is being powered by the SMS Gateway platform from communications software supplier Comverse.

Before the government moved to get Hong Kong's six mobile-phone operators to interconnect their SMS facilities, short messaging in Hong Kong could only be exchanged between users of the same network.

"Short messaging service provides a new way to communicate and for fun, without time and venue restriction. SMS provides a good way for communication where people are not available to answer the call such as in a meeting, or when they want to greet their friends during festive days," Ngan said.

Yossi Shabat, Comverse's vice president for Asia Pacific, said almost a million short messages were sent between networks on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

"The previous peak was 770,000 messages over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day," he said.

Shabat said that an analysis of inter-operator SMS traffic since the service was launched on December 3 revealed pronounced spikes over Christmas and New Year, with more consistent daily volumes in excess of 100,000 on other days.

"We estimate that inter-operator SMS has increased total SMS traffic in Hong Kong by more than two times, but there is still room to grow," he said.

Hong Kong's inter-operator is supported by Comverse's Intelligent Short Message Service Center (ISMSC).

(People's Daily January 7, 2002)

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