The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. The Canadian wireless industry shouldn’t count its chickens just yet following the announcement of its short messaging service (SMS) interoperability initiative at Communications 2001 last week in Toronto. Removing the last hurdle to inter-carrier SMS capabilities is no doubt a major step forward toward providing seamless and ubiquitous wireless communications across the country, but the industry will have to convince a large percentage of the population that this is a service they should pay for. At the news conference to announce the project, the heads of the country’s four national wireless operators touted the benefits to consumers of sending messages to a subscriber on a rival network. However, the carriers were really talking about the benefits from the potential increase in traffic on their networks. And that’s what this announcement is really all about – generating more revenue. It’s still unclear how each of the carriers will price the services, but there’s little doubt that each will try to squeeze as much out of the end user as possible. While the industry should be lauded for its efforts in this regard, it remains to be seen whether Canadians will actually jump on the text messaging bandwagon. The added SMS functionality likely won’t be appealing to high-level executives who have neither the time nor desire to type out a 16-word message on their cell phone. It takes 81 keystrokes to type out "honey stuck in traffic late for dinner". The youth market, on the other hand, is an attractive target – if the European and Asian experiences hold true in North America. The carriers trumpeted the staggering figure of 16 billion (and growing) short messages sent every month globally. But only time will tell if youth here will get on the SMS bandwagon in large numbers. There’s an old adage about leading a horse to water; let’s hope the carriers have something else up their sleeves to convince more than just a handful of Canadians that this is a service they should pay for.