According to the latest research from Infonetics on the Rich Communications Suite (RCS) market, mobile operators around the world will gain a cumulative $1.6 billion over the 5 years from 2012 to 2016 thanks to RCS service fees.
The study reveals that RCS has spread out to three main camps of telecom operators pursuing rich communications initiatives: those pursuing formal RCS, those that have switched to RCS-e, and those offering RCS-like services.
Based on these findings, Infonetics forecasts there will be 15 million RCS, RCS-e, and RCS-like service subscribers by 2013, with the majority in Asia and Western Europe.
Infonetics also notes in their research that RCS has been relegated to niche status because as of January 2012, there are still no commercially available formal RCS or RCS-e services.
Orange (News - Alert), Telefonica, and Vodafone have announced plans to launch RCS-e in the first half of 2012. Germany is likely to follow suit. However, the impact may not be visible soon.
Because RCS is tied to VoLTE as a core part of the service, it will rise in popularity in North America as operators launch VoLTE services. However, operators are not expected to charge directly for RCS capabilities in North America.
The initial target market for RCS is people in their 20s who actively engage in social networking, according to Infonetics.
Handset manufacturers like HTC, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson have already started developing a limited suite of RCS-e compliant handsets. Apple (News - Alert), on the other hand, has not shown its commitment to RCS to date; however, there are a growing number of third-party vendors offering downloadable RCS clients for the iPhone (News - Alert), as well as for Android devices, the report said.
Diane Myers, directing analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research, said, “It's been too long that operators on the fence have wavered over the financial commitment to IMS and inadequate support from handset manufacturers. Many have moved on to other strategic priorities, are working with third party over-the-top providers, and/or are waiting to launch RCS as part of an integrated piece of VoLTE.”
Myers added, “On the flip side, mobile operators such as China Mobile, SK Telecom (News - Alert), and MegaFon continue to find success with RCS-like services, offering a mix of features and packages that fit their individual markets. These examples show that, though RCS may not be for all operators or all countries at this point, there is a market for it in certain countries."
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Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi