Global mobile usage has tripled over the last five years, as noted by GSM Association (GSMA), a trade body consisting of international mobile operators. With the skyrocketing number of mobile phone users, text messaging remains one of the most interactive channels for key mobile operators today—making the next-generation, GSMA-initiated Rich Communication Suite (RCS) a major platform in enriching the SMS experience, and thus, making it an attractive proposition for many end users.
RCS, also known as the advanced SMS messaging protocol, is said to be the future of the modern mobile market. It will permanently alter the global mobile landscape by providing customers with simple yet rich user experiences through many up-to-date communication and multimedia capabilities. Airlines, for example, can benefit largely from these services by sending message reminders to their passengers, complete with rich media experiences, including visual updates. In addition, passengers can easily interact with the coming messages to check in, change their seats, etc. Many brands will likely take full advantage of such capabilities.
Equipped with interoperability and media sharing features, RCS effectively replaces the traditional text messaging by enabling conversational and group messaging—a feature that was previously available only in popular messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger.
The RCS-led developments serve as good news for many mobile operators, as these permit them to meet the contemporary needs of the now more tech-savvy consumers, 65 percent of whom, as per GSMA, transact with companies via chat applications. Thanks to the improvements made possible by RCS, GSMA has forecasted that the estimated $60-billion SMS-based B2C market will climb to $74 billion by 2021. RCS monthly active users will also reach 150 million by the end of the third quarter of 2017 and 220 million by the first quarter of 2018.
The steadily growing mobile usage, as well as the rising demand for faster multimedia communication and accelerated delivery of services, will not only drive the RCS segment, but will also result in the development of up-to-date services and applications that will promote revenue growth for international mobile operators and other concerned entities.
ArpuPlus, for instance, is already gearing up to further expand its application-to-person (A2P) SMS messaging services and develop specifications for RCS. These specifications include enhanced instant messaging, video calling, and media file sharing during calls—all accessible from a subscriber’s contact list.
Understandably, the MENA region is looking at incorporating RCS into their communication platform offerings. However, there is a need to fast-track such regional adoption to keep up with the latest market trend and ensure that it takes its share of the enormous growth opportunities presented by the RCS segment. ArpuPlus will play a key role and facilitate RCS deployment in the region via leading telecom operators.
The feature-rich, advanced SMS messaging will make mobile phones even more important to our personal and business lives than ever before, and with it lie major prospects for expansion and significant development.
Medhat Karam, CEO, ARPUPLUS