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RCS-capable subscribers to reach 1.2bn globally in 2022, despite strong OTT competition


The total number of RCS (Rich Communication Services) subscribers will grow from 1.2 billion in 2022 to 3.8 billion by 2026; accounting for 40% of global mobile subscribers.

This represents a growth of over 200%. Rich Communications Services is protocol for rich media messaging over operator networks that provides advanced business messaging services, such as chatbots and payments.

However, the new study, RCS Business Messaging: Monetisation Models, Competitor Leaderboard & Market Forecasts 2022-2026, from Juniper Research predicts OTT messaging apps, which control their own development, will provide fierce competition for rich media business messaging traffic. To combat this threat, operators must promote the greater reach of RCS to subscribers over the fragmented OTT ecosystem to demonstrate its value.

Despite the competition from OTT apps, the research forecasts global operator revenue from Rich Communication Services will grow from $230m in 2022 to over $4.6bn by 2026. To capitalise on this growth and combat OTT messaging competition, it recommends these providers offer a simple price-per-message monetisation model that has already been established through the use of SMS business messaging.

This model will enable platforms to attract high-spending brands to RCS messaging over OTT apps, by offering a pricing model that brands are familiar using. By 2026, the research anticipates that 95% of RCS business traffic will remain on this model.

Further RCS framework development required

However, the research predicts that an increasing focus on omnichannel retail will drive deployments of chatbot services in RCS messaging apps. This will require RCS platforms to offer new monetisation models, such as the session-based model, in which brands and enterprises pay for unlimited messages to a subscriber over a limited amount of time. In turn, the research urges RCS providers begin forming direct partnerships with online retailers and social media platforms to create frameworks that can support a session-based monetisation model, as RCS business messaging develops.


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