Does anyone use if for anything useful?
Gemalto has managed to get Facebook running on a SIM chip, making every GSM phone a Facebook phone and bringing social networking to the dumbest of handsets. The SIM-based client isn't as pretty as its smartphone contemporaries – don't expect picture streams or sliding interfaces – but it was developed with the help of …
Have you seen a provider VAS which is remotely useful on a GSM network and a long term (2+ years) success?
iMode (Japan cellular system) and Sprint NAV (PCS) do not count.
That more or less answers your question.
Now why do people after 15 years of failure continue rely on VAS as a primary monetisation method and build an entire architecture that will not monetise without VAS (3GPP LTE+IMS) is a different story...
SMS is necessarily expensive because it uses signalling bandwidth which is "transactionally safe" on every hop, reliably transmitted, etc. Depending on the radio plan it also usually uses the channel which is otherwise used for signalling.
If every second dumb phone out there will be loading that bandwidth for free (or flat fee) to access F***book the network will run out of signalling capacity in a blink of an eye.
While a good demo of what the SIM toolkit can do an operator doing this instead of going for a F***book enabled phone and GPRS most likely has a suicide wish of sorts.