Google Unleashes RCS In India, Setting Stage For Showdown With WhatsApp

Google is stepping into the ring against WhatsApp in India, eyeing a slice of the lucrative ₹2,500 crore enterprise messaging market.

What Happened? As per an Economic Times report, Google’s latest venture introduces an alternative mobile messaging system, challenging WhatsApp’s dominance in business communication.

Vodafone Idea (Vi) is leading the charge by teaming up with Google to offer Rich Communication Service (RCS) messaging to Indian enterprises. Industry insiders believe this could be a game-changer and predict that major players like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel will soon join the fray.

Google’s RCS, though pricier than traditional enterprise SMS, undercuts WhatsApp’s fees, offering a cost-effective option for telecom operators. This strategic pricing could lure businesses back from over-the-top (OTT) platforms like WhatsApp to RCS, balancing the telecom ecosystem’s revenue scales.

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Indian telecom giants – Airtel, Vodafone-Idea, and Reliance Jio – have raised alarms about the shift to platforms like WhatsApp. Their concerns range from cybersecurity threats to potential revenue and tax losses, estimated to hit around ₹3,000 crore.

Why it matters? Despite these challenges, the enterprise messaging market, worth nearly ₹2,500 crore, is ripe for growth, driven by the surge in digital transactions and e-commerce. Vodafone Idea has already started integrating businesses into the RCS ecosystem, sharing revenue 70:30 with Google. With RCS active in over 95 countries and hitting 1 billion messages globally, as Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced, the stage is set for fierce competition in India’s messaging domain.

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