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  • O2 became the 3rd German operator to launch RCS in the country on the 5th of February 2020
  • Germany is the first “Gold Market” for RCS Business Messaging in Europe: all three operators have now launched the new messaging service
  • There are 13 million RCS customers in Germany at launch in Q1 and more than 23 million are expected by the end of the year

The three German mobile operators displayed an impressive show of unity with brands, agencies and aggregator/solution providers at the latest MEF RCS Roundtable in Munich last week. The event was hosted in the O2 Tower in Munich with support from Liveperson and Telefonica O2 Germany and brought together about 60 professionals from operators, to communication service providers, digital agencies, and brands.

From left: Dario Betti, MEF, Brian Brand, Vodafone, Martin Repp, DT, and Jan-Hendrik Stanetzek, Telefonica-O2

Achieving a ‘gold’ status as a country – as GSMA refers to it – denotes that all MNOs in the country have deployed the updated version of SMS messaging. So far only Japan, South Korea and (partially) the USA are listed as ‘gold’ by the GSMA.

It is great news for the messaging industry. RCS is finally achieving some reach in the market, and the three MNOs are working together with the ecosystem to roll out RCS services in an intelligent way, with MEF attempting to gain industry consensus on common answers for discovery, verified sender ID, and payments.

It was encouraging to see Brian Brand of Vodafone, Martin Repp, of DT and Jan-Hendrik Stanetzek of Telefonica-O2 sharing slides on a single unified presentation – a welcome example of MNOs working together with the wider industry to create a common service to rival WhatsApp or Apple Business Chat. It would be gratifying to see this level of commercial maturity in all RCS countries! This German model would serve well as an example for other MNOs to emulate.

But for now, the most important thing is that RCS can be properly used to service brand clients in marketing communication campaigns. The German MNOs have delivered the first phase of their RCS deployment and it is now up to communication service providers to bring A2P traffic to RCS (and eventually P2A).

Rich Business Messaging in Germany has now got scale.

There are 13 million subscribers that can be reached by RCS messages in Germany – out of a population of 82.9 million. The under 14 year-old demographic currently stands at 10.8 million, allowing a potential ‘consumer population’ of 72.1 million. Hence, RCS is reaching 18% of the consumer population today. 

By the end of 2020 some forecasts expect the figure to grow to 24 million users (33% of consumer population), more optimistic forecasts expect reach in excess of 30 million (41%). These numbers are impressive and suggest the German market is fully ready to test the  potential of these services.

The Munich Round Table included presentations from Alan Ranger of Liverperson, ably demonstrating the potential of RCS to vastly improve on the current consumer experience of transacting online.

Nick Lane of Mobilesquared’s presentation demonstrated market sizing and showed how existing mobile banner spend could bring a tremendous engagement uplift, even if only partially transferred to RCS traffic.

Oliver Kremers, MD of German agency Fairrank (part of the Mueller Media Group) gave German brands and MEF Members the agency view of the RCS opportunity, with Robert Koch, CEO of ask Joe presenting their travel concierge joint initiative with LivePerson. Catherine Maguire from the GSMA highlighted the advancement of RCS at global level.

Presentations from the event are available exclusively for MEF Members >

For more information on future MEF RCS Roundtables contact Iain.

Iain McCallum

MEF Advisor