Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Google and the three major Korean mobile telecom companies are all seeking to develop new messengers to compete with existing message apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Kakao Talk.
According to the electronics and telecommunication industry on September 13, these companies are moving to roll out next-generation messenger services, which are based on “Rich Communication Services (RCS)," early next year.
RCS is an international standard developed by the GSMA, an organization that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, to upgrade simple text-based SMS services into multi-function chat services like Kakao Talk.
Samsung Electronics and Google are moving to upgrade the Samsung Message and the Android Message, respectively, based on RCS.
The three Korean mobile carriers will either launch a new messenger application under a joint brand or roll out a message app individually and make the three applications connected to each other based on RCS.
In case of the latter, subscribers to each company’s service will be able to chat through an integrated dialogue screen. Existing message apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Kakao Talk and Naver Line, are not compatible with one another.
LG Electronics and other major telecom operators, including Sprint in the United States, are also moving to develop their own message apps, raising the prospect of a big change in the message app market.
If they enter the RCS-based new messenger market, they can make a big change. The Global System for Mobile Communications or GSMA forecasts that the SMS-based messenger business, which is now estimated at US$60 billion, will reach US$90 billion in 2021 based on RCS.
Technological development is almost complete. The point is who will take the initiative in launching the new business. Smartphone makers (Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics among others), an operating system developer (Google), and mobile operators are all jockeying for position in determining who will keep the data created by new messengers. The vast amount of data from messenger users has huge economic value. How to distribute such big data and profits are expected to determine the success or failure of messenger alliances.