Despite tough competition from OTT messaging apps, the total number of RCS (Rich Communication Services) subscribers will grow from 1.2 billion in 2022 to 3.8 billion by 2026, accounting for 40 percent of global mobile subscribers, a new report showed on Wednesday.

This represents a growth of over 200 percent, according to A Juniper Research.

The RCS (also called modern SMS) technology is being promoted by Google in the face of still competition from Apple iMessages.

RCS is a next-generation SMS protocol that upgrades text messaging with features like payments, high-resolution photo and file sharing, location sharing, video calls, and much more.

It provides advanced business messaging services, such as chatbots and payments.

However, OTT messaging apps, which control their own development, will provide fierce competition for rich-media business messaging traffic.

To combat this threat, operators must promote the greater reach of RCS to subscribers over the fragmented OTT ecosystem to demonstrate its value, the report noted.

Despite the competition from OTT apps, the research forecasts global operator revenue from RCS will grow from $230 million in 2022 to over $4.6 billion by 2026.

To capitalize on this growth and combat OTT messaging competition, it recommends RCS providers offer a simple price-per-message monetization model that has already been established through the use of SMS business messaging.

By 2026, the research anticipates that 95 per cent of RCS business traffic will remain on this model.

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