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Traditional wholesale messaging players are finding the messaging environment around them is changing fast. The conversational commerce opportunity means that mobile operators need to move with the times to grab their piece of this lucrative marketplace.

At Mobile Ecosystem Forum‘s recent MEF CONNECTS Wholesale 2023 conference, Richard Lemmers, CCO at Openmind Networks, joined a discussion panel alongside Jeevithan Muttu, VP Product and R&D at TOMIA, and Ritu Taneja, Head of Carrier Relations, Messaging at Rakuten Viber, to explore the enduring relevance of SMS and what the future holds for business messaging. Here are some of the key takeways from that discussion.

Business messaging as a whole, not just A2P SMS, but RCS, email, chat bots, OTT and other apps, is experiencing significant growth at the moment – and there is vast potential for that growth to continue far into the future. With more than 300 million listed companies worldwide, and over 90% of these companies currently not utilizing business messaging as part of their operations, the business messaging train shows no signs of slowing down.

“The Evolution of Wholesale Messaging: A2P SMS and Beyond” discussion panel at MEF CONNECTS Wholesale 2023

The Resilience of SMS

SMS is a stalwart of telecoms, and even after thirty years, it remains an indepensable tool for business messaging. Its ubiquity and reach remains unparalleled, connecting over 5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. The experts on the day all agreed that far from being a relic of the past, SMS’ remarkable track record is set to ensure it remains a resilient force in the present and in the future of business messaging.

“Mobile operators need to commit. They need to invest in business messaging to accrue a bigger share of the market. This is something that they have done all along with voice…”

Jeevithan Muttu, VP Product and R&D, TOMIA

Changing Mindsets for Mobile Operators

The evolution of business messaging demands a paradigm shift in the mindset of mobile operators. Traditionally focused on the optimization of their carrier bases, mobile operators are now realizing that they need to be active participants in the future of business messaging, to enhance their relationships with enterprise users and enable them to utilize all available channels of communication with their customers effectively.

Business messaging does, of course, present its own challenges which were addressed by the panel. Pricing complexity, audience management and infrastructure readiness were just some of the crucial aspects of success discussed on the day.

Removing pricing complexity and helping operators and enterprises to make business messaging easier is a key consideration.

Mobile operators are missing out on a significant revenue stream in business messaging. Operators already have the infrastructure and the network capabilities to operate in the business messaging world, but to do so successfully requires a mindset change.

To succeed in the new world of business messaging, mobile operators need to build the right environment for success:

Mobile operators need to build the right environment and adopt the right motivation to excel in the future of business messaging. This includes everything from getting the right tools in place, to building the right team to simple things like having the right price lists to be able to communicate with their enterprise customers.

  • Have the Right Mindset

    Mobile operators need to cultivate the right mindset from the start – entering the business messaging arena for the right reasons.

  • Get the Right Tools in Place

    Mobile operators must ensure that they are equipped for success by ensuring that they have the right tools in place.

  • Get Their Team Ready

    Operators need to prepare their team for the challenges ahead. Ensure they are prepared to communicate with enterprise customers effectively with up-to-date messaging, price lists, etc.

Collaboration Over Competition

A recurring theme of the panel was the need for collaboration between mobile operators and OTT players like Viber and WhatsApp. The business messaging market is poised for immense growth, and by working together, rather than competing directly, OTT players and mobile operators can create their own, secure, spam-free environment, safeguarded against artificially inflated traffic and other types of messaging fraud that erode trust in the messaging ecosystem.

Enterprises (and end-user subscribers) will come to expect that they can communicate on their own preferred channel. This omni-channel messaging approach is the future of business messaging and it is a future where SMS and OTT works together.

Traditionally, OTT players have been viewed as a threat to SMS, but there is a growing consensus that there is a massive opportunity in embracing and working alongside OTT apps to enhance the messaging experience for everyone.

RCS: A New Era in Messaging?

The panel also discussed RCS messaging and RBM (RCS Business Messaging). Long seen as the next frontier in messaging, RCS is finally gaining traction, with a billion subscribers expected by 2024.

After a number of false dawns, some skepticism still remains, but it’s believed that this time – due to the influence of Google as a hyper-scaler – will be different.

The Future of Business Messaging

Amidst the discussions on challenges and changing landscapes, the panelists emphasized the need to focus on the positive aspects of business messaging. With real-world problem-solving through chatbots, online messaging, and rich content, there’s a call to shift the narrative from challenges to opportunities.

A powerful message resonated throughout the discussion – empower enterprises and end-users to make informed choices. Whether it’s the reliability of SMS, the richness of chat apps, or the evolving capabilities of RCS, the preference should be a democratic choice – placing the decision-making power in the hands of those who use these communication channels.

In conclusion, the narrative of business messaging is evolving, driven by collaboration, technological advancements, and a focus on positive outcomes. As the landscape continues to transform, the story that emerges is one of adaptability, partnership, and a commitment to unlocking the vast potential inherent in the world of business messaging.

To learn more about the topics covered in this article, or to discuss how Openmind Networks can help you navigate the future of business messaging, please get in touch at or contact our team of experts online here.

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