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RCS: Walking dead or sleeping giant?

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Current landscape
  3. Challenges and outlook
  4. Key takeaways
  5. About Mark Beccue

1. Summary

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is the mobile operator community’s attempt to shift real-time communications into the 21st century. This standards-led initiative, where all real-time communications will become applications carried over IP, has sparked little consumer interest, and critics are widespread. RCS is often seen as a feeble and futile counter defense to OTT communications applications such as WhatsApp and Skype. RCS faces substantial adoption and implementation challenges, but it also provides a number of long-term competitive opportunities to the mobile ecosystem and is backed by its largest participants.

This report reviews the opportunity and hurdles for RCS and tries to answer the key question: Is RCS a bust or does it have a future? Key findings include:

  • RCS is not a short-term defensive tactic for mobile operators to combat OTT, but a long-term strategy to segue consumers to all IP-based real-time communications.
  • As smart devices with native RCS clients increase consumer market share, RCS will gain traction because of seamless integration of RCS and non-RCS communications and users.
  • Mobile operators should concentrate on building APIs to third party, interoperating platforms which will become the business and technical partners to developers.


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