RCS users to more than double by 2025
Almost half the world's population will use RCS messaging by 2025, as users of the technology more than double over the coming four years.
According to forecasts published by Juniper Research, users of Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging will increase from 1.2 billion in 2020 to 3.9 billion by 2025 – when the world's population is expected to stand at 8.1 billion.
As the market grows, Juniper Research said RCS will present new revenue opportunities for operators while growing "a viable rich-media business messaging ecosystem that appeals to enterprises". More than 40% of mobile subscribers will operate on networks that support RCS by 2025, rising from 15% in 2020.
In maximising the potential of RCS, research author Sam Barker said RCS ecosystems that are supported by operators, rather than app-based ecosystems, will have a key point of differentiation: offering validation through MSISDN (mobile station international subscriber directory number) as a means of authenticating users and routing traffic.
Barker said: "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."
On the operator side, those who fail to invest in RCS services will miss out such future emerging revenue streams as rich-media advertising. Advertisers are also in line for a pay-out as Juniper Research said they would play "a much more prominent role" in the messaging space over the next five years.
However, exponential growth doesn't necessarily equate to a better user experience. The research advised stakeholders to focus their development efforts on functionality that provides "immediate benefits" to end users, such as payment capabilities and brand authentication. This would "create a trusted messaging ecosystem that can sustain valuable advertising activities when the ecosystem reaches maturity".