RCS Goes Mainstream

Industry momentum on RCS is accelerating with many new deployments coming in 2019. RCS is a standards-based global upgrade to SMS delivering rich messaging experiences to users and enables Rich Business Messaging communications between brands and consumers.

RCS launches have increased substantially in the last 12 months from 50 to nearly 80 and Monthly Active Users numbers have grown from 150m to almost 300m. The GSMA has also seen a step change in operators working together to bring RCS to all end users in their country. Such a move is essential to truly unlock the massive opportunity of RCS at scale for both Consumer Messaging and Business Messaging.

Deployment Options

We see two possible infrastructure deployment options for RCS –

  • Operator (MNO) RCS hosted or on-premise deployments, which provide higher levels of opportunity and flexibility to monetise new propositions especially in RCS Business Messaging, eg for Brand Engagement, Bookings, Interactive notifications, Conversational Commerce, Customer Care etc.
  • Cloud RCS solutions, which provide a faster solution to upgrade end users to RCS. The service may be offered under the cloud provider’s Terms & Conditions, minimising the MNO effort, while allowing time to prepare for a full MNO RCS service launch.

Things to consider

The GSMA believes it is now a matter of when to launch RCS, not if.  We encourage all operators to consider their approach on RCS. Decisions should be made in the context of ambitions for service provision and appetite to invest to realise commercial opportunities from RCS Business Messaging.

Operators should talk to several RCS network providers offering cloud, hosted and on premise solutions to understand the options available and commercial terms. The GSMA website has vendor contact details.

When selecting any RCS provider, ensure you have discussed and agreed how to support the migration path and commercial flexibility you require to meet your mid-term ambitions on RCS.

For more information, GSMA operator members should read WA.09 RCS Ecosystem Principles, or contact futurenetworks@gsma.com.

Preparing for launch

If you are an operator already planning your RCS launch, please request FQDN configuration from GSMA. This is a straightforward process but essential for standard RCS client provisioning. Refer to IR.67 Section 5.5 and Annex B, or contact 3gppnetwork.org_delegation@gsma.com for more details. You should be sharing your plans with handset vendors as early as possible to agree RCS IOT and device enablement plans. Finally, the GSMA has an MoU available in WA.08 for RCS P2P commercial interconnect between operators. The MoU is recommended to simplify national and international RCS P2P traffic termination, while volumes are initially relatively small.

We urge Operators who would like to hear more about RCS to reach out to GSMA for further information at futurenetworks@gsma.com.