RCS is supposed to be mobile provider’s answer to WhatsApp & Co. Therefore, RCS offers some interesting features.
In 2017, the SMS as communication channel has to face more and more competition from mobile instant messaging applications like WhatsApp, at least in the private sector. As a matter of fact, SMS is technologically not up-to-date. Especially the limitations regarding the integration of multimedia content make SMS look antiquated compared to services like WhatsApp and Telegram.
However, many companies adhere to SMS in their marketing strategies – for a good reason. After all, SMS still provides advantages and unique features. Among other things, SMS can be send and received by almost all mobile devices without any other applications being required. Following that point, communication companies have started to invent RCS. RCS – an invention which was previously known as “Joy” in Germany – stands for Rich Communication Service.

RCS is Catching up to Modern Messaging Applications and Bundles the Communication Channels

Rich Communication Service is closing the gap between conventional SMS and modern instant messengers. Through RCS, users are enabled to share photos, videos, and location information as well as to start group chats and video calls without using third-party providers such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Furthermore, RCS bundles many different communication channels. SMS, MMS, and RCS can all be used in one standardized function. This function will also be able to integrate services like WhatsApp. Having said this, the maybe biggest advantage of RCS will be the possibility to send content via the mobile phone network and not to be dependent on LTE or WIFI networks, which still have a lower network coverage. This could constitute a decisive advantage over the instant messaging competitors.

New Possibilities for Companies

Especially for marketing this service might be interesting. They could use the new functions to add their company logo (which can also be shown in the sender ID) or further multimedia content to their messages. In the future, companies can for instance send train or flight tickets via RCS. Other examples of usage are:

  • newsletter or e-commerce offers
  • community management, i.e. for events
  • location-based information in real time such as traffic situations, a flight delay, or the current weather report
  • live chats, i.e. in the customer service or human resources marketing
  • the internal corporate communication
  • et cetera

Beyond that, RCS uses a bi-directional channel which can be read by machines. Using this code is crucial for companies which use chatbots for communication. In addition, in many people’s perception messaging is considered as individual, and particularly appealing. Therefore RCS can provide a personal and customer-focused communication between companies and their customers in real time.
Even the privacy regulators will be pleased by RCS. Other than the apps provided by third-party companies, RCS does not save user information on company-owned servers but uses a direct connection from phone to phone and additionally enciphers the content of the messages.

Not yet a Full-Featured Substitution

Nonetheless, even RCS has disadvantaged. While many phones with an Android operation system have integrated RCS by default, many elder devices do not support this function and a supplementary app has to be installed. The same applies for devices running on iOS, too, as RCS is not integrated in this OS and a complementary app is needed as well.
Thus, we shall see whether RCS – which invention already has begun in 2008 with the first mobile providers having rolled out the service to several markets in 2012 – will be able to compete for custom with long-established companies as WhatsApp & Co.


The real time marketing automation suite ELAINE by artegic integrates consistently all relevant channels of dialogue marketing in just one technology: eMail, RCS, SMS, push messages, apps, web, social, print mailings and mobile messaging. Using ELAINE is the right basis for customer-focused cross channel communication which is responsive, context-sensitive, highly individual, relevant, and compliant.