GSMA tells carriers how to compete with WhatsApp, Line and others

The GSMA issued a report today outlining ways carriers can tap the soaring market for IP-based messaging even as alternative platforms eat into their SMS revenues in many markets. While proprietary offerings such as WhatsApp and Line have gained tremendous momentum, they are also siloed services that require users to download specific apps and perhaps switch from app to app to message with friends and contacts.

So carriers can compete by deploying RCS and VoLTE, which can be interoperable from carrier to carrier to create the kind of open platform SMS has become. The strategy would enable operators to meet users' demand for "a single, feature-rich communications service they can use to reach all of their contacts," GSMA said.

The appeal of open and interoperable messaging platforms is self-evident, of course, and operators around the world should certainly do what they can to offer compelling alternatives to proprietary platforms. But some of those alternatives have already captured enormous chunks of the market – Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp process 60 billion messages a day, for instance, three times more than SMS – and carriers shouldn't assume they can claw back many of those messaging users that they lost long ago. Report