The global market value of Rich Communications Services (RCS) is now projected to reach $74 billion by 2020 – as users across the globe become increasingly aware of how this far more engaging, interactive and secure upgrade to SMS can enrich their experience of messaging between businesses and people alike. With 79 operators across 55 countries currently live with RCS, global monthly active users are now estimated to have reached 286 million. In Asia – the world’s most connected continent, which is firmly mobile-first – some highly promising results have been delivered over the last year, as regional operators and their partners in the vertical industries work together to make good on this highly lucrative new platform.
The fastest growth globally has been seen in South Korea, where all the major operators have now launched peer-to-peer (P2P) RCS, and monthly active users are reported to have reached 8.3 million. The South Korean operators are due to be fully interconnected in August, and will then launch application-to-person (A2P) RCS in November. RCS has enjoyed great progress across Asia as a whole over the past year: China’s largest operator China Mobile for instance now offers RCS in both P2P and A2P form to over 60% of consumers in China – having announced their launch of Business Messaging at MWC Shanghai to an online audience of 86,000 – and monthly active users of P2P have since surpassed 86 million in China. In India, Reliance Jio has launched RCS P2P, with Vodafone Idea also launching imminently.
Japan became the first country in the world to enjoy total RCS coverage with all major operators last year, when KDDI, NTT DOCOMO and SoftBank collectively <a href=”https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/rcs/case-study-operator-collaboration-brings-major-rcs-coverage-to-japanese-market/”>launched</a> RCS using a collaborative system based on unified specifications. This successful cooperative effort enabled complete client and network interoperability, without the need for any participating operators to sacrifice control; and the scalability made possible through such cooperation was quickly demonstrated when P2P users of the resulting messaging service upgrade, +Message, exceeded 3 million within three months of launch.
By Q2 of 2019, monthly active users of P2P RCS in Japan had exceeded 8 million, a fourfold increase since the announcement at MWC18 Shanghai just 10 months earlier. Today, participating verticals include some of the most central to modern daily life: retail banking with Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, credit card management with JCB, insurance with Tokio and Nihon, and securities with Nomura Shoken. These high-value and sensitive services benefit from the unified user experience made possible for customers, and the unified API made possible for aggregators, by this collaboration – which we hope will serve as a useful <a href=”https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/rcs/case-study-operator-collaboration-brings-major-rcs-coverage-to-japanese-market/”>case study</a> in planning processes elsewhere.
To help build awareness of RCS and aid its adoption, the GSMA convenes regular seminars, summits and other interactive meetings across the globe. These cater to all levels of expertise and involvement in RCS, and allow delegates the chance to meet current and future players in the RCS ecosystem, help design customer experience, assist in go-to-market strategies and inform GSMA standards. Among these are the GSMA RCS Business Messaging Awareness Labs – sessions aimed at companies that are new to RCS, and want to discover how they use it to improve their businesses – where attendees gain valuable opportunities to learn, network and contribute to discussions which will shape the future of conversational commerce.
Our <a href=”https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/events-and-webinars/rcs-awareness-lab-26-philippines/”>26<sup>th</sup> GSMA RCS Business Messaging Lab</a> will be led by Jill Cooper, Marketing Director, Future Networks and will take place in Cebu City in the Philippines on 5 September, as part of the <a href=”https://asiancarriersconference.com/”>Asian Carriers Conference</a> and will be sponsored by LivePerson. Speakers from 3C, Globe Telecom Google, Infobip, LivePerson, Mavenir, MobileSquared, Sinch and Smart Communications will gather to share their thoughts on the business case for RCS Business Messaging, technical solutions for optimising user experience and achieving scale, and campaign case studies to showcase real-world successes to date.
Particular attention will be paid to why the opportunity to start working with RCS is now – on user growth from 2018 to 2023, what’s driving those results, and how alternative revenue models and more than double the opportunity. VP for International Roaming and Consumer Business at Smart Communications Alice Ramos, who’ll be delivering a keynote on the topic, reminds us that “we cannot ignore the potential of RCS, especially when we view it in the context of the evolution of A2P messaging,” asking “if plain A2P SMS delivers solid growth, how much more value can mobile operators deliver with RCS?”
There’s no need to purchase an Asian Carriers Conference pass to attend the event – Lab attendees will be given a complimentary day pass allowing them access to the venue, and a discounted conference ticket price should they wish to attend other events. If you’d like to attend please just let us know by completing a registration form <a href=”https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/events-and-webinars/rcs-awareness-lab-26-philippines/”>here</a>.
To find out more about the GSMA’s RCS Business Messaging Labs, please click <a href=”https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/rcs/rcs-business-messaging-labs/”>here</a>.
<strong>About the event sponsor</strong>
<em>LivePerson is a global technology firm which develops software for conversational commerce solutions using AI. The company’s mission is to “make life easier by transforming how people communicate with brands.”</em> <em>In 2018, the company announced its Maven AI offering, which allows clients to create AI-powered chatbots to answer messages from consumers. Its customers include Adobe, EE, and Facebook, HSBC, IBM, L’Oréal, and Orange.</em>