How mobile operators can drive rich messaging experience with RBM
2020 saw the continued rise of the omnichannel subscriber. In recent years, their demand for flexibility in their preferred channels for communications with businesses (and friends and family) has transformed the entire business-to-consumer communication ecosystem. As a result, A2P communications are now expected to incorporate features that allow for rich engagement and interaction such as group chats, voice and video calling.
This development provides a key opportunity for mobile network operators (MNOs) to offset attrition in the person-to-person messaging business and drive new enterprise revenue streams. Thanks to growing demand from enterprises in messaging, MNOs were able to grow mobile business messaging in the last year.
In fact, Juniper Research found that global mobile business messaging traffic increased by 10% in 2020 to 2.7 trillion (up from 2.5 trillion in 2019). This was largely the result of exploding growth in application downloads which lead to greater consumer demand for (A2P) messaging features like two-factor authentication (2FA), pro-active alerts, reminders and notifications.
“We have seen an increase in business messaging use cases in the last five years,” says Divya Ghai Wakankar, the head of digital communications solutions at BICS. “2FA for device authentication, user registration, transactions, and password resets are some of the most widely used; and we are also seeing A2P messaging replace email for marketing engagement for brands.”
However, even as messaging volumes have increased, users have come to expect more from enterprises: namely, high-quality, omni-channel experiences over their channel of choice. To provide these personalised, two-way interactions – and remain competitive with other social messaging channels – MNOs must innovate. This means creating new, compelling use cases that convince enterprises and customers to utilise ubiquitous messaging services with rich user experience.
In 2021, one of the most lucrative areas for such investment is in providing consumers with rich native channels of communication, and offering enterprises and users the ability to offer outstanding omni-channel experiences that supersede traditional SMS. This will prove key in continuing growth in business messaging. But which applications consumers will use to access these experiences is a different question entirely – and one operators must answer if they are to succeed in the business messaging space.
“Whether people would embrace OTT apps or the upgrade of native messaging applications to RCS is unclear. But availability of RCS natively on Android phones, privacy regulations and the emergence of new providers are causing the market to fragment further. Apps such as Signal, Telegram and BiP (a messaging offering from Turkcell) are seeing a surge in downloads,” she adds. “This trend shows that consumers are willing to use other channels and therefore can embrace native RCS messaging service though interoperability between Android phone native messaging RCS and iPhone is still a puzzle to solve”.
Increased adoption of RCS messaging provides a strong foundation for RBM to build on in the A2P use-cases. Brands increasingly see RBM and other channels as a means to engage users, and handle service and support complementing their A2P messaging. For MNOs, RBM is also an attractive proposition to end users with richer capabilities that provide increased value over traditional messaging. This is where the opportunity and the potential revenue lies for MNOs, but they won’t be able to take ownership of all business messaging.
Users are driving the need for omni-channel experience which is visible with the OTT applications like Whatsapp, Apple Business Chat and others launching business conversation messaging experience.
MNOs must invest in RBM to enable users with native rich user experience and have messaging revenues flow from RBM, Wakankar said.