RCS traffic to grow 290% annually by 2023

15 March 2019 | Jason McGee-Abe

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A new study from Juniper Research claims rich communications suite (RCS) traffic will have an average annual growth of 290% over the next four years.

The new Juniper Research - A2P Messaging: SMS, RCS & OTT Business Messaging 2019-2023 - forecast that the rich media interactivity of RCS would make the emerging messaging technology popular for retail and marketing business use cases, and also help the growth of operators’ total messaging revenues.

The research forecast that there will be 3.5 trillion business application-to-person (A2P) messages delivered by 2023, as RCS and OTT technologies gain traction. This is a 40% increase on the estimated 2.5 trillion in 2019.

However, despite strong growth, RCS will only account for 2% of all A2P traffic by 2023, reaching 56 billion A2P messages. The research suggested that A2P messaging users will continue to use SMS owing to the familiarity of the protocol. As a result, it claimed that the growth of RCS will be mostly driven by new traffic, rather than the migration of existing traffic from SMS.

“Future growth of RCS traffic will be driven by users migrating away from dedicated mobile apps,” said Sam Barker, the author of the research. “The technology will develop to become the first point of contact for RCS users to engage with brands over mobile devices within five years”.

The research also found that OTT business messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp for Business, will deliver 236 billion messages by 2023, which is a surge of 700% over the next four years. However, they will continue to suffer from a fragmented user base across multiple messaging applications.

In response, the Juniper research cited the use of communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) solutions as essential to enable fallback onto the ubiquitous SMS protocol to ensure message termination. Additionally, it found these platforms will allow the collection of insightful data, including contact preferences, to enable A2P business users to optimise messaging campaigns.