RCS momentum builds as two thirds of operators look to deploy services by the end of 2015

Brussels – Belgium, June 3, 2014 – BICS, a global provider of wholesale carrier services, today announced the results of a survey of senior executives at mobile operators, revealing the key challenges in delivering Rich Communications Services (RCS) to provide a fast response to the ever-growing number of end-users using OTT applications for messaging services.

The survey of senior executives, held at IMS World Forum in Barcelona, found 68 per cent had either already launched, or plan to launch, RCS initiatives by the end of 2015 and also revealed the associated challenges to the rollout of the technology.

Of the mobile executives surveyed, 43% said the biggest challenge with the launch of RCS services is the concern about monetisation of the service and assured return on investment. This reflects the typical challenge of some mobile operators to justify the usual Capex requirement for IMS network rollout. The second most important challenge, raised by 20% of respondents, was in creating a truly interoperable service – incorporating video calling, multimedia file transfer and group chat services.

Over half of respondents (59%) see the main value of RCS in consumer services with B2C value added services and multi-device access for end users, while a further 30% see its main potential in providing messaging services to a range of other devices. From a mobile operator’s perspective, almost one third (32%) believed the main benefit was in providing operators with opportunity for innovation, while 28% said it is part of their strategy to move to all-IP networks. This shows that RCS is now perceived as a long term technology strategy for mobile operators to create value and new mobile services.  

RCS is a GSMA initiative designed to offer rich and simpler communications services which are interoperable with operators internationally, providing the same level of ubiquity as voice and SMS. RCS is already available in 23 countries and the number of operators adopting the service is expected to increase to 76 by the end of 2014[1].

Divya Ghai Wakankar, senior product manager – voice, BICS, said: “The results of the BICS RCS survey show there is a strong ambition from mobile operators to leverage the full potential of RCS to bring next generation services to market. The success of OTT applications proves there is a huge demand from consumers towards more engaging methods of communication. By deploying RCS, mobile operators can get creative with their offerings, while utilising their unique position as trusted operators to drive adoption with extended reach across geographical boundaries.  By adopting hubbing and hosted models, operators can overcome major challenges and bring RCS services to market quickly and cost-efficiently, ensuring full interoperability and increasing their ability to challenge OTT players’ dominant position in this enhanced communications market.”

Note to editors

Over 100 senior executives were surveyed, and were polled as part of a live interactive survey at the ‘Future of Communications – RCS, WebRTC and VoLTE’ session at IMS World Forum in Barcelona in April 2014.


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