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New Mobile Messaging Payment Growth Opportunities

Mobile messaging is evolving. Traditional services include offerings such as carrier SMS, as well as over-the-top software app-based services. Now new offerings based on the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging standard, and in-application AI chatbots, may disrupt that legacy market.

RCS is a next-generation mobile messaging standard supported by mobile network operators that enable media-rich content and payment services. Juniper Research has forecast that total revenues from RCS traffic in North America will reach $712.8 million during 2020.

North America will drive 28 percent of total messaging revenue in 2020 -- due in part to the adoption of RCS messaging, and the supporting efforts of the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) which is a joint venture between AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

While CCMI will initially focus on U.S. market deployment, the technology developed by the joint venture will eventually be available in the broader worldwide mobile communications market.

Mobile Messaging Services Market Development

The latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research identified integrated payment services in instant messaging applications as key to continuing this growth beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Juniper has forecast that instant messaging software app developers will likely partner with payment gateways to offer new capabilities in apps and increase the overall consumer value proposition.

The research analysts anticipate that partnerships with retailers will be crucial to growing an instant messaging payments ecosystem. The addition of payment capabilities in the app will enable retailers to extend their omnichannel strategies into the mobile messaging space.


Juniper also forecasts that retailers will capitalize on the established user base of instant messaging applications, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat, as an additional retail channel.

According to the Juniper assessment, retailers will then provide value-added services beyond simple messaging alerts, such as payment authentication and processing. That's the upside growth potential.

Juniper analysts also forecast that the number of RCS-enabled smartphones will grow by 45 percent from 2019 to 2020, with over 740 million smartphones using RCS services by the end of 2020.

However, despite this growth in mobile messaging service user adoption, it warned that RCS-enabled smartphones would only be 16 percent of all smartphones globally in 2020.

Outlook for Mobile Messaging Applications Growth

Given that the Juniper analyst findings estimated that 84 percent of smartphones will use mobile instant messaging applications in 2020, they believe that stakeholders cannot wait for RCS to reach high saturation levels to engage with mobile payments.

The research, therefore, recommended that vendors should leverage this massive addressable market as an immediate priority. That being said, let's not forget that the mobile network operators in the U.S. market were slow to adopt SMS, relative to their peers in the European and Asia-Pacific markets.

Therefore, we'll have to wait and see how mobile service providers in the North American market embrace new messaging initiatives. These messaging services will surely require new marketing investment to ensure their commercial success.

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