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    RCS messaging users to reach 3.9bn by 2025; offering a new rich-media mobile advertising channel

    The global number of users of RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging will reach 3.9 billion by 2025; rising from 1.2 billion in 2020, according to the latest data from Juniper Research.

    Moreover, it predicts that increasing operator engagement in RCS technologies will be key to growing a viable rich-media business messaging ecosystem that appeals to enterprises – and operators need to invest now to reap the rewards.

    The new study, RCS Messaging: Emerging Opportunities, Monetisation Strategies & Market Forecasts 2020-2025, warns that operators who fail to invest in RCS services will miss out on future emerging revenue streams, such as rich-media advertising.

    It predicts that the IP-based nature of the RCS protocol will enable rapid development of new services over RCS clients, and will allow other market stakeholders, such as advertisers, to play a much more prominent role in the messaging space over the next five years.

    Operators need to maximise RCS potential

    RCS ecosystems that are supported by operators, rather than app-based ecosystems, will provide a key differentiation point by offering validation through MSISDN (Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number) as a means of authenticating users and routing traffic. The research predicts that over 40% of mobile subscribers will operate on networks that support RCS by 2025; rising from 15% in 2020.

    Research author Sam Barker explains: “Efficient payment processing over RCS and user tracking will require standardised user authentication procedures. Operator-supported RCS services will enable the protocol to leverage existing technologies to do this, rather than relying on app-based procedures.”

    Established RCS ecosystem will foster advertising opportunities

    The research warns however, that implementing advertising over RCS must be done carefully in the short term, as not to reduce the quality of the user experience. To best support its introduction, it recommends that stakeholders focus development efforts on functionality that provides immediate benefits to end users, such as payment capabilities and brand authentication, to create a trusted messaging ecosystem that can sustain valuable advertising activities when the ecosystem reaches maturity.

    The study backs up similar findings from Mobilesquared, which averred that brand RCS spend will be worth more than $52.2 billion by 2028, with mobile operators able to claim a significant portion of this revenue.

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