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Widespread use of text messaging for advertising and other services may be a couple of years away, even in Finland and Sweden, but the pace is picking up, especially since WAP has still not taken off as it was expected to. I've heard a lot about how crazy SMS (Short Message Service) use is in Europe, and apparently it's going to be a lively business arena as well.
It hasn't picked up as much here in America because cellphone penetration is nowhere near as widespread as it is in Europe, especially in Scandinavia.
Text messaging over cellphones is popular all over Europe (much more so than in the US), and Finland may be leading the way.
Estimates show that Finns (“who are said to be shy”) will send almost one billion text messages this year …
But just look at how popular two-way pagers (like Motorola's Talkabout) are becoming and you'll get a glimpse of what the text messaging revolution is all about …
and there are only about 5 million people total in the country.
Additional uses for text messaging are also being explored in Finland.
Another aspect of mobile advertising is location-sensitive ads, which could involve receiving a message from a restaurant you're near advertising a discount or something similar.
Location sensitive messaging could also be useful for non-advertising purposes: getting a message that your bus is delayed as you near a bus stop, for example.
Apparently, the Ministry of Transport can text message you information on a used car you're interested in, and a company called Riot-E runs X-Men games where players command characters via text messages.
And anywhere there's a new medium, you know advertisers will be there as well.
Finnish company Add2Phone already runs a service for snowboarders, where those who sign up get text messages with ads from interested companies and snowboarding-relevant information (e.g., weather conditions).