Play is the first MNO in Poland to provide its customers with an RCS service, positioned as a substitute for SMS and MMS messages. The RCS standard should soon be officially included in the networks of other MNOs. In the long term in particular, RCS can be expected to have the first visible impact on the SMS market.
Play as the first MNO with RCS service available
P4, the Play network operator, has made RCS Chat available to its customers, referred to as the successor of SMS, but also MMS messages. RCS has many functionalities known from instant messengers – it gives, among others, the possibility of sending high quality multimedia files or conducting group conversations. Using RCS Chat in Play does not require the installation of additional applications – the default Messages application is sufficient to support it, nor any monthly activation fees. However, using RCS Chat is only possible if you have access to the Internet via mobile data (which reduces your package) or WiFi. Currently, RCS service supports selected phones with Android 10.0 and higher. With time, the list of supported phones will grow.
RCS will deepen the decline in the number of SMS sent
The development of the RCS standard on a larger scale in all MNOs (Orange, T-Mobile and Polkomtel also communicate the work on the service, which is in the testing phase) may contribute to the deepening of decreases in the number of SMS messages sent in Poland. Since 2013, the number of SMS messages sent in the country has been decreasing. This is due to the high penetration of smartphones, which offer alternative forms of text communication based on mobile data transmission (instant messengers or social networking sites). Another factor limiting the use of the SMS service is low prices for voice calls (no limit offers) and large packages of mobile data transmission in operators’ offers.
In PMR’s opinion, in particular in the long term RCS will start to crowd out SMS and MMS services from the market. However, PMR does not expect RCS to be a major competitor to instant messaging for individual customers. Due to its functionalities, RCS will be used mainly in mobile marketing, for mass mailings. More on this topic can be found in our previous entry, here.