It's do-or-die for RCSe services

Pamela Clark-Dickson/Informa Telecoms and Media
28 Feb 2012

This will be the do-or-die year for RCSe services and, quite possibly, for mobile operators’ chances to ensure that they secure their role in providing IP-based communications services to their subscribers.

The group of five mobile operators’ mantra of ‘it’s just there and it just works’ for RCSe will only hold true if RCSe is indeed, available on multiple mobile devices and networks, and if it provides a satisfactory user experience. The G5 comprises Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia.

Over-the-top voice and IP messaging providers such as WhatsApp, Viber Media, Facebook Messenger and KakaoTalk have set the bar high for mobile operators in terms of user experience. They have been able to capitalize on the long gestation of RCSe’s predecessor, Rich Communication Suite (RCS), which ultimately led to the G5’s RCSe breakaway manoeuvre.

The ability of the OTTs to create and iterate services in internet years rather than telecom years has allowed them to get their services to market more quickly, to build substantial user bases, to enhance their services and, ultimately, to start eating away at operators’ voice and messaging revenues.

Wisely, the G5 and, by extension, the Spanish subsidiaries of Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange, have decided not to compete – at least initially – with OTT providers with regards to the services on offer. Instead, the operators will provide a set of basic communications services using RCSe, for which they will attempt to build adoption by focusing on their core strengths, namely, that they have a captive audience in their respective subscriber bases, and that they can enable interoperability of the service for subscribers on other networks.

After all, it worked for SMS, right?

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