Almost half of operators are sceptical about how much money can be made from the launch of rich communication services (RCS), with further concerns about interoperability of the technology, a new survey has claimed.
A survey from wholesale carrier services provider BICS found 43 percent had issues with the return on investment made for launching RCS. One in five operators were concerned about whether a truly interoperable service, spanning video calling, multimedia file transfer and group chat, can actually be launched.
Nevertheless, the survey of operator executives found 68 percent of them had either launched or were planning to launch RCS products by the end of next year. It said 59 percent of respondents said RCS's main benefit was delivering consumer facing value-added services across multiple devices. A further 30 percent of respondents said RCS was useful in bringing messaging to a wide range of devices.
Almost a third of operators (32 percent) said RCS provided them with an opportunity to innovate, with 28 percent claiming the services were at the heart of their plans to move to virtualised networks. BICS said this was a sign that operators were putting RCS at the heart of their long term plans.
RCS is the GSMA's attempt to fight back against OTT players such as WhatsApp. It is already available in 23 countries, with Orange's Libon messaging service the best know example of RCS, and it has been predicted that 76 operators will launch the service by the end of this year.
Divya Ghai Wakankar, Senior Product Manager – Voice, BICS, said: "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."