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Wednesday, May 02, 2007 

SMS traffic surges 20% to 8.4bn messages in 2006 – Brazil

The volume of short message service (SMS) traffic in Brazil surged 20% to 8.4bn messages in 2006 compared to 7.0bn in 2005, newspaper Gazeta Mercantil reported, citing estimates from mobile messaging solution supplier Okto.

Around 90% of this volume is person-to-person, while the application-to-person market, which integrators such as Okto can bill for, accounts for the remainder, Okto CEO Ann Williams told BNamericas.

Despite the small market, Okto expects growth in SMS to continue in 2007, although Williams declined to give a figure.

Brazils telecoms operators have continuously upped their revenues from data services, now at 7-8% of the total, Williams said.

Media groups are also increasingly finding new ways to use SMS to interact with the public such as to vote on TV programs like Idols, she said.

Companies that are coming to Brazil from outside see the billed message market as just starting out in the country, according to Williams.

Indeed, Brazil has lagged behind countries such as Argentina, Mexico and Chile in the interactive content market.

On the other hand, Brazil has been more advanced in the corporate services market, with internet banking messages or text messages from call centers, Williams said.

"This gap is set to decrease in 2007," she predicted.

Okto, which provides SMS, MMS, SIM Browsing and WAP services, expects to boost its volume of billed messages to 500mn in 2007 from 250mn in 2006, while rival company Yavox hopes to grow by 60% to 160mn messages from 100mn last year.

Okto, which has a staff of 65, has media clients such Band, Editora Abril, MTV and SBT, as well as local retailers Extra and Submarino.

Yavox, which received capital from Intel Capital (Nasdaq: INTC) in 2004, has 60 clients including local media giant Globo, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Pepsi, Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Citibank (NYSE: C.

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Pedro "K2" Macêdo

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