The Middle East has gone a significant way beyond person-to-person text messaging. Businesses, organizations and even governments are routinely using SMS as a powerful, efficient and convenient tool for staying in touch with clients, partners, employees and citizens. Text messaging plays a far more vital role in everyday life here than in Western Europe.
Try listening to a radio station in Dubai. An hour won’t pass without a competition or prize draw in which you participate by ‘texting’ a dedicated mobile short number.
When applying for an official document with the government, automated SMS notifications on pickup dates, etc. are standard and in many cases mandatory.
SMS is also widely used for mobile banking across the Middle East. In the Gulf state of Qatar for instance, banks are even legally required to offer SMS banking.
Their services range from simple credit and debit notifications over SMS-initiated money transfers to fraud-protective measures for credit card payments.
And the quest for media companies, mobile operators and other businesses for innovative applications is far from over as telecoms deregulation has encouraged further competition and people in the region are very open to technological advances and innovations.