Third-party mobile chat applications last year surpassed carriers' SMS platforms in actual messages sent globally, but SMS apparently remains far in the lead when it comes to the number of people who use the services, according to Informa, a research and consulting firm. The report did not take into account Joyn, the carriers' planned effort to start a universal interoperable messaging and file-sharing platform. "Mobile operators do have the opportunity to provide their own IP-based messaging applications," Informa analyst Pamela Clark-Dickson said. Carriers also have the capability to offer features and services connected to the third-party apps.

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