The most commonly used data application on mobile phones is SMS text messaging, with 74% of all mobile phone users as active users (over 2.4 billion out of 3.3 billion total subscribers at the end of 2007). SMS text messaging was worth over 100 billion dollars in annual revenues in 2007 and the worldwide average of messaging use is 2.6 SMS sent per day per person across the whole mobile phone subscriber base (source Informa 2007). The first SMS text message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone in 1992 in the UK, while the first person-to-person SMS from phone to phone was sent in Finland in 1993.
The other non-SMS data services used by mobile phones were worth 31 Billion dollars in 2007, and were led by mobile music, downloadable logos and pictures, gaming, gambling, adult entertainment and advertising (source: Informa 2007). The first downloadable mobile content was sold to a mobile phone in Finland in 1998, when Radiolinja (now Elisa) introduced the downloadable ringing tone service. In 1999 Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo introduced its mobile internet service, i-Mode, which today is the world's largest mobile internet service and roughly the same size as Google in annual revenues.
The first mobile news service, delivered via SMS, was launched in Finland in 2000. Mobile news services are expanding with many organisations providing "on-demand" news services by SMS. Some also provide "instant" news pushed out by SMS. Mobile telephony also facilitates activism and public journalism being explored by Reuters and Yahoo! and small independent news companies such as Jasmine News in Sri Lanka.
Companies are starting to offer mobile services such as job search and career advice. Consumer applications are on the rise and include everything from information guides on local activities and events to mobile coupons and discount offers one can use to save money on purchases. Even tools for creating websites for mobile phones are increasingly becoming available.
Mobile payments were first trialled in Finland in 1998 when two Coca-Cola vending machines in Espoo were enabled to work with SMS payments. Eventually the idea spread and in 1999 the Philippines launched the first commercial mobile payments systems, on the mobile operators Globe and Smart. Today mobile payments ranging from mobile banking to mobile credit cards to mobile commerce are very widely used in Asia and Africa, and in selected European markets. For example in the Philippines it is not unusual to have one's entire paycheck paid to the mobile account. In Kenya the limit of money transfers from one mobile banking account to another is one million US dollars. In India paying utility bills with mobile gains a 5% discount. In Estonia mobile phones are the most popular method of paying for public parking