As users are drawn to the feature-rich chat capabilities of Over-the-Top (OTT) messaging services, the once-lucrative carrier-based messaging incumbent services are quickly being challenged and displaced.
The growing OTT user-base is beginning to attract the attention of marketers. Historically, one of the most significant drawbacks to OTT message services was that users had to download the app, but in countries like Spain where WhatsApp has an 83.1% market penetration1 or Brazil where it has 120 million active users1 that download barrier no longer exists for one of world's most popular OTT apps. With the market going in a new direction, brands are taking notice – creating their own apps or advertising on others to reach their customers.
RCS promises a solution
With RCS, there is no need to address users through varying OTT services or on several apps. Instead, RCS allows carriers to offer brands a native messaging service with the same set of rich features users have come to expect from OTT message services yet priced similarly to what they would pay for SMS interaction. Compared to WhatsApp for Business, which is expected to be much more expensive for the same capabilities2, RCS messaging offers a very appealing opportunity for brand and consumers alike. While the low cost to the consumer is most likely a contributing factor to the popularity of OTT message services, since RCS messaging is native to the handset without any additional effort to download, purchase expense, or buy-in needed from the consumer base, the service is expected to surpass both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp subscriptions by 20213. And with RCS network launches expected to double in 20192, carriers can evolve the messaging market by offering an innovative option to bring this traffic back from OTT services – all the while creating new revenue streams.
RCS Business Messaging
The Mavenir RCS Business Messaging (RBM) solution enables brands, aggregators, content providers, enterprises and MNOs to monetize RCS messaging technologies and provide rich, multimedia end-user experiences from the native messaging application on mobile devices. By transitioning to RCS and offering RCS Business Messaging services, carriers shift from selling merely by the number of messages they can provide, to selling both the quantity and the quality of the message experience - making their networks more appealing to paying subscribers. In fact, in a recent RBM implementation from a Tier 1 carrier, a lift of 7x in clickthrough's vs their legacy SMS content was reported4 by improving the user messaging experience with RCS services.
There's no time to waste
The opportunity presented by the benefits of RCS has been recognized by Google, who have announced their own RCS service. The Google service will cut carriers out of the loop if they do not already have RCS up and running5. The threat that MNOs are facing has not been lost on Charlotte Palfrey, a senior analyst at Ovum, who writes:
“Certainly, this move will not make telcos trust Google anymore. This will benefit vendors such as Mavenir, which can use its RCS Cloud Platform to roll out RCS quickly, and which, more importantly, is not Google5.”
With Google’s OTT push and momentum clearly building behind RCS, now is the right time for carriers to implement. Mavenir’s RCS is currently leading the market by providing the framework to 39% of all deployed RCS seeds6. By offering RBM services through Mavenir’s RCS framework, carriers can reverse the flow of brands to OTT message services by creating the same impact on users for less cost on a secure and native platform. With 2 billion RCS users expected by 20213, it’s clear now is the time to build networks with quality solutions for both users and the brand marketers who want to talk to them.
6. Mavenir internal based on sales figures, GSMA reported RCS launches and subscriber bases, and RCS capable devices based on smartphone and Android penetration