VietNamNet Bridge – Experts have anticipated that the traditional SMS service would be eliminated one day,since the apps for free message sending or phone calls, which are more favored because users do not have to spend time on keyboards, have been integrated into popular mobile phones.

More and more Vietnamese people use the software pieces allowing to make phone calls free of charges via Internet with Wi-Fi or 3G, including Whatsapp, Viber, or Line. Users just need to access to Appstore or Google Play to download the software pieces, register their phone numbers, then the phones will automatically send the authentication codes and search for friends using the applications in the phonebooks.

As such, with simple operations, users can easily send messages and make calls via Internet.

Some smart phone manufacturers have integrated free messaging software to provide more utilities to users. BlackBerry, for example, has Blackberry Messenger, Apple has Facetime eligible for video conversation and iMessenger supporting the sending of multimedia messages among the iOS-based devices (iPhone, iPad or MacBook). Most recently, Samsung has provided ChatOn software.

Domestic firms have also introduced the software pieces allowing to chat or make calls via Internet. In April 2012, FPT marketed FPT Chat app with a lot of outstanding features for the people using FPT’s popular models, such as free messaging, sending/receiving images and audio.

In August 2012, FPT introduced FPT Chat mobile phone model with two simcards, large touch screen with Qwerty keyboard and hotkey FPT Chat, allowing quick access to the free messaging software.

On August 8, VNG launched Zalo app, designed for conversation and messaging with mobile phones. When logging on, Zalo would request users to use their mobile phones or Zing accounts to connect with friends.

Besides the basic features, such as making messages in text, voice, image modes, sharing photos, making fee calls via Internet, users can also play games or other interesting features.

According to Vuong Quang Khai, Deputy General Director of Zalo, the market is really potential because of the high demand for connecting people, while Facebook still cannot do this well.

As having the features of social networks, Whatsapp, Viber, Wechat are believed to be able to “outstrip” Facebook on mobile. Moreover, the software pieces all have the voice SMS feature, thus creating a new method of communicating that is really more friendly than the traditional method, with which users have to type the keyboard.

Khai said that Facebook Messenger still does not support the feature; therefore, there is a vast market for service providers to exploit, especially the mobile phone and operation system manufacturers such as Apple, or Google.

An Internet expert has affirmed that the current rapid development of Wi-Fi and 3G services would prompt the development of chatting apps.

However, he said, the disadvantage of the free chatting and messaging software is that users have to keep Internet connection regularly. Meanwhile, traditional SMS service can be used anytime and anywhere, including the remote areas, where the connection quality is weak, thus leading to unstable conversation quality.

Le Hoang Hai, General Director of FPT Technology Product, said the chatting apps mostly run on the smart phones using iOS or Windows Mobile and Android. Though the owners of smart phones can send messages free of charge, they have to pay high to buy smart phones first. This explains why the number of people using free chatting software remains modest.

Therefore, Hai said, FPT Chat targets popular mobile phone models which are being used by 85 percent of mobile phone users, thus allowing consumers to access the app in a convenient way with reasonable budget.

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