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February 13, 20243 min read

Why Does RCS Business Messaging (RBM) Matter for Mobile Operators?

Rich Communication Services (RCS) delivers a significantly advanced messaging experience compared to SMS, allowing features such as the sharing of high-resolution photos, videos, and GIFs, attaching files, as well as chat. It has been designed to modernise the texting experience in line with the likes of iMessage, and over-the-top (OTT) messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Viber. 

RBM Represents the Future of A2P

Like all of these next generation messaging platforms, RCS has been designed with the user experience in mind. But that in itself is creating the ideal platform for brands to communicate with consumers. And unlike the 160 characters associated with SMS - which remains the largest business messaging platform by far today - RCS allows the inclusion of action buttons, the provision of sender receipts, and probably of most interest to a brand, the opportunity to hold conversations with consumers. Or as it has become known in the industry, conversational commerce. 

RCS Business Messaging
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Messaging is transitioning from transactional to conversational. Although SMS still represents the most powerful communication channel to connect brands and consumers, mobile operators have been witnessing revenue leakage to alternative channels. RBM represents the long-term strategy to capture the rich business messaging market and secure a significant share of the SMS market revenues.
Mobile operators opting to build direct relationships with brands will be responsible for brand and agent verification. Once they sign a commercial agreement with brands, the onboarding process with Google can start.

Every brand wanting to run conversational commerce campaigns over RBM needs to complete a verification process. This is critical from both a brand perspective, and the RBM platform perspective, as messages from a verified sender will have a “tick” on the message to inform the consumer that it has been sent from a trusted brand. In ensuring only verified businesses can access RBM, this helps protect the channel from fraudulent activity. 

Once the brand’s onboarding process is completed, it’s verified and ready to send messages, they then have the option of five billable events (in non-messaging industry terms, ‘messages’ and ‘conversations’) to choose from based on their RBM requirements. The five billable events are: Basic message, Single message, A2P conversation, P2A conversation, and P2A message. 

From a billing perspective, sending a message is a pretty straightforward process. But with RBM, if a consumer replies, and that one message becomes a conversation between a brand and the consumer, there could be any number of messages exchanged. Presently, a conversational window will remain open for 24 hours, so typically only one conversation would be charged to the brand. But if the conversation stretched into a second day, an additional conversation would be charged. 

The element of conversation takes RCS billing to a level of complexity that is a world away from SMS. Which means that whichever Google RCS partner a brand selects to oversee its RBM activity, they need to ensure that within their RBM platform offering is an agile and flexible billing system capable of meeting their conversational commerce demands over RBM, whatever they may be.

TOMIA Telarix aids mobile operators in the RBM market with a seamless Google-integrated billing solution. Leveraging years of experience in SMS A2P, we offer automated billing services with flexible rating options on top of Google billable events. Operators can negotiate discounts, bundles, tiered charging models, as well as active user-based pricing for recurring notifications. These flexible options enable mobile operators to take control of the RBM market directly and secure SMS A2P revenues going forward.

To learn more about the RBM market and be prepared to scale up this business, download our white paper written in partnership with Mobilesquared.