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2020 Trends to Watch

By: Sam Barker

Mobile messaging continues to undergo its most significant period of disruption in the form of RCS. Despite the potential of RCS, its future lies in its adoption by both operators and handset manufacturers.

Operators, however, face competition from OTT (Over the Top) messaging applications, which are typically more agile and faster to develop new services. OTTs are also beginning to make moves to provide APIs for enterprises, essentially acting as platforms aimed at those who would typically use white route A2P SMS.

OTT messaging traffic has surpassed P2P SMS, thus operators must now ensure that business messaging traffic stays on their networks or risk losing further messaging revenues to OTT players such as WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger.

While operators’ ARPU (Average Revenue per User) decline in certain regions is exaggerated due to the depreciation of local currency bundles against the dollar (for example, in Latin America and Europe), the implications are clear: operators must urgently find new revenue streams to shore up falling historic core incomes.

Therefore, Juniper Research believes that 2020 will be a key year for messaging technology. Indeed, interest in RCS continues to gather pace among operators.The onus is on them to permit multiple RCS clients on a device, and they must ensure that devices are able to handle multiple clients concurrently. This poses a small challenge to establish the pre‑installed RCS client as the default application in use, rather than a third-party application. Given that one of the key use cases for RCS is to act as a centralized means of communication in an business messaging environment, failure to do so could lead to the fragmentation of services, which in turn will diminish the usability of the service.


Pressure from Brands to Launch RCS

Enterprise validation through brand authentication will be a key differentiator for SMS and OTT messaging platforms. At this stage of the market, ushering in visible identifiers and educating RCS users about their brand authentication procedures will be key to fostering trust in the technology. With a disparate app ecosystem, Juniper Research believes the ability for all brands to interact with consumers through a single app will be highly sought after in the retail and banking sectors.

Mobile channels will continue to be an important CRM (Customer Relationship Management) channel for brands and enterprises. Declining operator revenues are pressuring operators to adapt their business strategies to capitalize on both emerging technologies and competition. SMS services continue to offer ubiquitous connectivity to all users with a native messaging client.



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