Aiming to replace legacy SMS and MMS service, GSMA introduced rich communication services (RCS) in 2008. RCS was expected to help mobile network operators defend their messaging revenues, which are increasingly being cannibalized by the over-the-top (OTT) players. However, as of 2016, there are only 47 commercial RCS launches worldwide.
In this report, ABI Research profiles major players in the RCS ecosystem. The report also dives into the reasons behind the lukewarm responses from the mobile network operators and other barriers to adoption, such as lack of IMS deployment at core network and Apple’s walled garden ecosystem strategy. Google has recently pledged its support for RCS support on Android OS. As mobile network operators continue to deploy IMS and VoLTE, ABI Research believes that this will be the silver lining for RCS adoption.
However, RCS adoption will not be enough to prevent the eminent decline of the global messaging revenue figure, estimated at 4% from 2016 to 2021. Therefore, RCS is best viewed as a complementary offering to IP-based service rather than a transformative technology capable of bringing mobile operators back to the front of the global messaging race.